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Minimum Standards

A new ruling shows it doesn’t pay for landlords to provide rental properties that aren’t in a reasonable state of repair.

By: Property Investor Team

1 June 2020

Provision of a run-down rental property to a tenant in need has led to a Hastings landlord having to pay the tenant over $3,000 in damages, as well as being ordered to carry out extensive remediation work.

In October 2018, GDSS Properties Ltd, owned by Angela Payne, offered to rent out the villa to Tammy Prentice, who had been “homeless” and struggling to find a place for herself and her children to live for a year.

Prentice accepted the offer, even though the house was in poor condition, and moved in. Health problems soon followed and a social worker became involved. The social worker encouraged Prentice to serve a 14-day notice on Payne to undertake some repairs.

Prentice did this late last year, but the situation deteriorated further this year and ended up at the Tenancy Tribunal.

Several building professionals provided assessments of the property to the Tribunal. This allowed the Tribunal to determine that Payne had failed in her duty to provide an insulation statement to the tenant and to comply with current insulation requirements.

However, the question of whether GDSS provided the premises in a reasonable state of repair and complied with the relevant requirements was more complex. The Tribunal required a witness, further reports and a site inspection. But, ultimately, the Tribunal found that GDSS was in breach of its responsibilities, under the Residential Tenancies Act, to provide the premises in a reasonable state of repair and to comply with all building, health and safety requirements.

Further, it found the breaches were intentional as Payne was an experienced landlord and had repeatedly stated her intention to minimise investment in a property she planned to demolish or sell.

This led the Tribunal to order Payne to pay Prentice $3,220 in damages. The Tribunal also imposed a work order and GDSS was ordered to undertake extensive repairs on the property by set timeframes.


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