A Tribunal ruling last year, where a tenant let her dogs urinate throughout the Foxton rental property, was successfully appealed by the landlord to the Palmerston North District Court.
The court reversed a Tenancy Tribunal decision absolving a tenant of liability for damage caused by her dogs. Landlords are pleased by the overturning of the decision and feel that common sense has prevailed.
Foxton Landlord David Russ was pleased with the decision and said it was the right one. David received many emails and phone calls from other property investors when the Tenancy Tribunal went in favour of the tenant with their support and concerns. Before the decision was overturned landlords were telling David that they were allowing dogs but not anymore and that what it states on the tenancy agreement versus what the Tenancy Tribunal states is two different things.
David felt that the original ruling was pushing too far towards favouring tenants no matter what the mess they created even though it’s clearly in the agreement they sign. It makes the tenancy agreement null in void.
The court found the tribunal was wrong and that the damage caused by the tenant qualified as intentional not accidental, making the tenant responsible for costs. The judge said that not only had the tenant broken a no-dog clause in her tenancy agreement but she had continued to let them in after perhaps a couple of accidents.
Taking tenants to the Tenancy Tribunal is an expense landlords could do without, however having a fair hearing is important not only for the landlord but the tenant as well. Having to take this issue to court and have it over turned in favour of the landlord shows that maybe the Tenancy Tribunal needs to be looked at. Are there other potential cases that landlords may look at to take to court as well?
Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith has proposed to change the current law so a tenant would be liable for damage of up to four weeks’ rent or, if it was more, the landlord’s insurance excess.
As a property manager it is our job to make sure everything we do is documented and that both the landlord and tenant are protected. It is a two way partnership, the landlord is providing a clean and safe place for tenants to live and the tenants are paying for this service and looking after the property in accordance to the tenancy agreement.
Communication is key for both landlord and tenant whether that is through your property manager or amongst yourself if you self-manage. Respecting one another and talking it through is much easier and cost effective for both partners.
If you would like help managing your property please contact us at Inspire Property Management.