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Dunedin property management company fined for acting slow

The Tenancy Tribunal has ordered a Dunedin property management company to pay $2020.44 after the Tenancy Compliance & Investigations Team found it took more than a year to fix a leaking roof in one of its Dunedin rental properties.

Shortly after moving into the rental property on 1 January 2017 the tenant found several issues with the house including rotting window frames, draughty windows and ceiling panels, and a roof leak.

The tenant advised the property manager of the leak in the roof on 18 January 2017, but it wouldn’t be replaced until February of the following year.

“That’s 13 months where the tenant had to deal with water entering their home every time it rained, having to use buckets and tarpaulins to protect her children’s belongings from water damage,” says Peter Hackshaw, Acting National Manager Tenancy Compliance & Investigations Team.

“But it’s not just the damage to belongings that we were concerned about here. A leaky roof will lead to a damp home, which can result in a number of health issues for those living there.

“Every New Zealander is entitled to a warm, dry, safe home. The Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team (TCIT) is focused on cases where known harm is occurring.”

Lincoln Darling Real Estate Ltd. Trading as Darling Realty acted as agent for the property owner, Mr Futcher, who resides overseas. Despite not residing in New Zealand, the Adjudicator found that both the company and Mr Futcher were liable on the tenancy agreement, and as such both must pay the fine.

The Adjudicator described the breaches to the Act as ‘intentional’ in the sense that the company and Mr Futcher were made aware of the need for repairs over an extended period of time during [the tenants] tenancy but simply failed to undertake those repairs within a reasonable time period.

“It’s important that both property management companies and absent landlords fully understand their rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act. Those who are not meeting their obligations under the Act can expect to be held to account.”

All Tenancy Tribunal Orders are publically available by searching the Ministry of Justice website.

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