Tribunal details damage liability stance

01 September 2016

The Tenancy Tribunal has said that tenants cannot be held liable for any damage to a rental property that they can prove was unintentional.

A Practice Note setting out Tribunal guidelines also says landlords cannot seek the excess in cases of unintentional damage, but tenants are not covered if the act that caused the damage was deliberate.

The Tribunal move was prompted by a recent Court of Appeal decision in a long-running tenancy insurance case involving a couple who were pursued by their

landlord’s insurer for the costs of a house fire caused by an unattended pot left on the stove.

Some sector representatives have criticised the change for effectively putting residential property landlords on the same footing as commercial property tenants even though commercial tenants pay their landlord’s insurance premiums.

And Auckland Property Investors Association (APIA) president Andrew Bruce said the new rule, which came into effect on August 1, was outrageous and would make him take more care when selecting tenants.

Quinovic’s Property Care and Return system ensures careful tenant selection, with thorough vetting and checking of references, by all Quinovic’s Principals and Property Managers. You can see the Tribunal’s full Practice Note here.

Seminars to focus on tenancy changes: Tenancy Services, in association with the NZ Property Investors’ Federation and the Ministry of Justice, are offering free seminars around the country during September, October and November.

The seminars will focus on the new tenancy laws that came into force on 1 July and registration is essential to secure a spot. Seminar dates and details here.

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