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Keep Your Cool

A case involving a landlord who took exception to a tenant’s note is a lesson in the importance of staying calm when dealing with tenants.

By: Property Investor Team

1 February 2021

Tenants Te Aorere Wanoa and Taylar Morris rented a property from Cheryl Scott in August 2020 for a fixed term of 18 months. While the tenancy was initially incident free, a property inspection in October last year changed the tone of the relationship.

During the inspection, Scott found a note detailing some issues with the property. She took offence to the note, and from this point on the relationship deteriorated. Scott issued a 14-day notice to the tenants a few days later, containing what have been deemed “inappropriate demands” including a breach notice for failing to check smoke alarm batteries, failing to ventilate, failing to remove a baby gate at the entrance of a bedroom, and denying responsibility for rubbish that had been there at the start of the tenancy.

Scott also made unpleasant references to the tenants, calling their behaviour “primitive”, describing Morris as prissy, and describing her as “I Want” for exercising her rights.

The tenants were left shaken by the way in which Scott treated them and sought to end the tenancy early. Scott, in return, sought compensation for carpet repairs, and claimed to have been verbally harassed, which was not proven.

Adjudicator J Robertshawe ruled that the tenancy could be terminated early, on January 22. He also found that the tenants were not liable for any issues raised by Scott, and that neither party warranted compensation or exemplary damages.


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