Landlords and Property Managers: We are in this together – Exemplary Damages

31-May-2019 07:30:00

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In recent Tenancy Tribunal cases, adjudicators have awarded exemplary damages against both landlords and property managers when there has been a failure to provide and maintain premises in a reasonable state of repair. This will be extended to include failure to meet the new insulation standards from 1st July 2019.

This means that landlords and property managers can be held joint and severally liable for fines awarded by the tribunal when they feel that both parties have failed in their duties. That is, property managers cannot hide behind the excuse that a landlord won’t perform repairs on a rental property.

The Chief Executive, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) can make a claim to the Tribunal on behalf of a tenant. MBIE have an investigation team that monitor and enforce compliance with the Residential Tenancies Act, Healthy Homes Guarantee Act and associated regulations. They are also the team that will be ensuring that all rental properties meet the insulation standard by 1st July 2019.

That being said, there is nothing for good landlords and property managers to be concerned about providing that:

  • both property managers and landlords are acting within a reasonable time frame to conduct repairs
  • inspections are performed on a regular basis and maintenance requirements are addressed
  • the property meets all new regulations such as insulation.

With all the new legislation that has been introduced over previous years, the intention is to improve our rental housing stock which is good for New Zealanders. Having a Government department to enforce this is necessary as unfortunately there are landlords and property managers who do not abide by rules and regulations, leaving our most vulnerable at risk. Property management companies must ensure that they are reporting back to their landlords with an honest and accurate account of the property and ensure that landlords fully understand what their obligations are under the Act.

Harcourts property managers are professionals in their field. They conduct regular inspections of all our rental properties, reporting any maintenance required. In the rare case that a landlord does not share Harcourts’ values and refuses to meet their obligations under the Act, the management contract may have to be terminated. This will be the case for landlords who fail to meet their obligation to insulate their property by 1st July 2019.

Harcourts property managers are your eyes and ears and will advise you of what is needed to keep your property well maintained. With the new standards for rental homes, Harcourts looks forward to managing warmer, drier, healthier homes and being part
of this reform for the benefit of New Zealanders. With MBIE’s team enforcing compliance, a higher standard across the property management industry is welcomed.

If you have any questions about compliance for a rental property, contact your Harcourts Property Manager.

 

Topics: Industry Update, Property Management, Property Manager, Harcourts Property Manager