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EU staffer dodges $20k bill for unpaid rent, property damage
A European Union staffer has dodged a bill worth thousands of dollars to a landlord by invoking diplomatic immunity in New Zealand. A tribunal in March ordered the EU Delegation's deputy head of mission in New Zealand, Eva Tvarozkova, to pay $20,000 to her landlord for unpaid rent and property damage at a Wellington house. Although she didn't contest the original hearing, Ms Tvarozkova's lawyers later returned to the tenancy body and argued, as a diplomat, she didn't have to foot the bill. While New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs lobbied the European delegation to consider waiving immunity, it had no luck, and the tribunal has now overturned its decision, saying Ms Tvarozkova was indeed protected. The landlord, Matthew Ryan, argued the Geneva Convention had exemptions for commercial transactions - a position backed by two recent cases in Canada. "It sends a message out to all diplomats that they can behave appallingly," Mr Ryan told NZME after the ruling.
Sniffer dogs in apartments for random drug tests
Drug sniffer dogs are being used to detect drug use in apartment buildings. The issue has come to light after a landlord posted a listing on Trade Me promising "random" drug tests. The Trade Me rental listing for a two-bedroom home in Onehunga said the tenant would have to agree to a "random drug detection regime". The listing was removed following inquiries into how these drugs tests were carried out. "All of my properties are subject to a random drug detection regime to make this a safe environment for you and your family," the ad read. Auckland property lawyer Joanna Pidgeon said while landlords were able to conduct tests for contaminants, they still had to give at least 48 hours' notice before visiting the tenant. Landlords who conduct random tests inside homes without notice could pay up to $2000 in damages.
Renters United announces plan to fix renting in New Zealand
Renters United has released a detailed plan of how to "fix renting" in New Zealand. The organisation is proposing 36 specific legislative changes to existing laws, laid out in what's called 'The Plan to Fix Renting'. It says the country is facing a "once-in-a-decade opportunity" to fix rental laws, which it describes as "broken". "Renters can have our homes taken away for any reason - or no reason," Renters United says. "Meanwhile, the few rights we do have are poorly enforced through a system that renters themselves pay for." The plan revolves around four key areas: 'stable homes', 'fair rent', 'safe and healthy homes' and 'meaningful enforcement'.
Landlords group hits back at Renters United's claims
Renters United says that rental homes are cold, damp and unsafe but this is a gross exaggeration as it is not true of all rentals. They say that renters can have their home taken away from them for any reason or no reason, which is completely false. The whole point of owning a rental property is to rent it to tenants. If the tenant is paying the rent, looking after the property and not upsetting neighbours, then there is no need to end a tenancy. If a rental owner ends a tenancy, there is always a reason. It is cheaper to rent a home in New Zealand than it is to own the same home. On top of this, you do not need to save for a deposit to buy your home. These are two extremely beneficial advantages. However, nothing is perfect and because you do not own the home, there may come a time when the property is needed or required to be sold.
Higher meth test levels, lower premiums
Introduction of higher meth testing levels, as recommended by Sir Peter Gluckman’s game-changing meth report, would lead to insurance premiums coming down, according to one insurer. The report, which looked into the health risks of third hand exposure to meth in residential properties, found that where meth has been used – rather than manufactured – it poses a negligible health risk. It also suggested the revision of the current testing regime and the introduction of much higher testing levels (15 micrograms per 100cm2 as opposed to 1.5 micrograms per 100cm2). Initio founder Rene Swindley says that if the 15 mg level was adopted as the standard for meth testing that would, eventually, lead to insurance premiums decreasing.
Do you need a current address on a previous tenant?
TINZ has an Address Alert feature on the bottom of the lodgement pages. What this means is you are able to load an errant tenant onto the system and anytime another member submits a search on that tenant you will be emailed an updated address. This feature can also be turned on or off from your personal space in the 'My TINZ' menu where you can find all your previous searches and lodgements.
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