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Tenants liable for careless damage – to a point

 Tenants will now have to take some responsibility for careless damage to rental properties after the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No. 2) passed its final reading in Parliament on Wednesday. Associate Minister of Housing Kris Faafoi said the legislation makes practical changes to the RTA to help ensure tenancy laws better reflect responsibility for careless damage of rental properties. “These changes will provide greater certainty to landlords, minimise cost and risk, and ensure tenants have the right information when deciding if they will rent a property. Under the new legislation, tenants will be liable for careless damage of up to four weeks of rent or their landlord's insurance excess, whichever is lower. Their liability for careless damage will be capped at four weeks of market rent.”    (Source:

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Remuera tenant wins $2500 from landlord

 An Auckland tenant has won $2500 compensation after her landlord didn't do enough to evict a second tenant who was "rampaging around at night, causing a disturbance". According to a recently published Tenancy Tribunal decision, Anne-Michelle Serage made repeated complaints about the man living in the Remuera unit below her, who was also a tenant of her landlord. She claimed her bathroom was left reeking of dope because the man was smoking drugs inside his unit downstairs. The man also regularly caused late night disturbances, including one occasion when he passed out in his ute, she said. The Tenancy Tribunal adjudicator found that by receiving this information but then not passing it on to the property manager, Keary failed "to take all reasonable steps" to ensure the man did not interfere with Serage's peace, comfort and privacy. This meant the landlord effectively "permitted an ongoing breach of Ms Serage's quiet enjoyment".    (Source: NZ Herald)

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Rental property inspections too frequent, say landlord

Owners of rental properties are unhappy at insurance policies requiring property inspections every three months, saying it is too intrusive for tenants. Landlord Paul Cornish is one who has expressed frustrated with the inspection condition in a quote from State Insurance.  Another landlord agreed it was disruptive for tenants, even going as far as to say it may breach their right to quiet enjoyment. He said his property has been insured by the same company for 15 years and the quarterly inspection term was applied about five years ago. CEO of NZ Properties Investors Federation Andrew King said he thinks such regular inspections are uncalled for, although they have become standard. NZPIF recommends landlords check their policies and carry out the inspections otherwise they may be void from making an insurance claim if something did go wrong. Chief executive of the New Zealand Insurance Council Tim Grafton said policies differ based on the level of risk the insurer is comfortable with. If a property owner does not take due care, they may find they are not covered for damage caused by poor maintenance.    (Source: NZ Herald)

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Getting end of tenancy clean ups right

Confusion over what leaving a property “reasonably clean and tidy” at the end of a tenancy means has prompted a call for prescriptive guidelines from Tenancy Services. Under the Residential Tenancies Act, tenants are required to leave a property “reasonably clean and tidy” when a tenancy comes to an end. But landlords and tenants often have different views on what exactly that means in terms of the obligations around the condition of a property. For that reason, disputes over cleaning are a common feature at the Tenancy Tribunal. They also make up a steady stream of enquiries to’s Ask an Expert feature. That has prompted REINZ to issue a call for clearer guidelines on what an end-of-tenancy clean up requires from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Tenancy Services. REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell says many landlords think that if they’ve paid for professional cleaners to clean their property between tenants, when the new tenant leaves the property should be left in the same condition. Tribunal rulings make it clear that “reasonably clean and tidy” does not mean being cleaned to professional standards.   (Source:

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False details on application forms   

 On tenancy application forms, some bad tenants make slight changes to their details to get past the tenancy checks and credit checks. Be fastidious about getting the right details to input on the Tenant Check page. We recommend requesting a photo of the tenant's drivers' licence or passport when they make their application as Tenant Checks through illion Tenancy can verify your prospective tenant has given you their correct name and date of birth. Input their details as it is written on the ID, rather than the tenants application form. Tenants can legally say that an incorrect spelt name or non-legal name is a reason not to pay a Tribunal order, as it isn’t them. Always get their correct legal name on the tenancy agreement. (e.g. Tony Roberts is not the same as Anthony Roberts).



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