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Damage Costs Tenants

Many landlords feel that damage rulings, more often than not, go the way of tenants - but a new Tenancy Tribunal decision proves that’s not always the case.

By: Property Investor Team

31 January 2020

Two Christchurch tenants have been ordered to pay their landlords $21,498 after causing extensive damage to their rental property. While the sum includes an order for abandonment and rental arrears, the bulk of it was for the damage.

The fixed-term tenancy was due to end in November 2019, but the tenants, Phillipa Miscall and Aaron Cooper, abandoned it several months beforehand. The landlords, Yoomi Jung and Moonsung Jun, took possession of the premises in September.

On doing so, they found there was damage to walls throughout the premises and to carpet in several rooms. The garage door and the bathroom basin surround were damaged. The toilet and seat were broken. The fridge was also damaged and a new one had to be purchased. Further, the premises were not left reasonably clean and tidy, rubbish was not removed and some chattels were missing.

The landlords went to the Tenancy Tribunal and the Tribunal found in their favour, after working through the provisions in sections 40(2)(a), 41 and 49B of the Residential Tenancies Act.

Tribunal adjudicator J. Greene said the damage was more than fair wear and tear, and the tenants had not disproved liability for the damage.

“Tenants are liable for the cost of repairing damage that is intentional or which results from any activity at the premises that is an imprisonable offence. Damage is intentional where a person intends to cause damage and takes the necessary steps to achieve that purpose. Damage is also intentional where a person does something, or allows a situation to continue, knowing that damage is a certainty.”


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