Who pays for smashed windows?

Question from Kelly Li updated on 12th February 2009:

Hi, I have a rental property in Lower Hutt. The one of the windows was smashed open by one of my tenants when she tried to open it. Who is responsible for the repair cost please?

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

Responsibility for the cost of the repair would depend on the circumstances in which the window was broken. Tenants are liable for the damage they or their invited guests cause carelessly or intentionally. If the damage was not caused through a careless or intentional act, then it may be considered the landlord’s responsibility to repair it. I suggest you ask your tenant to explain how she was trying to open the window when it smashed to determine which if you may be liable for the cost. If you and your tenant can’t agree on who will pay the cost of the damage, you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to resolve the matter. To discuss your situation further, or for advice and information about applying to the Tenancy Tribunal, you can contact the Department of Building and Housing on 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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