INDEPENDENT NEWS

Already hard for landlords to protect neighbours

Published: Fri 15 Nov 2019 11:17 AM
After more than seven months of trying to end a tenancy to protect neighbours, a Rotorua property manager has finally received approval from the High Court to end the tenancy.
The tenant was causing problems with a tenant neighbour, but also claimed that the neighbour was causing problems for her. As it was a case of “he said, she said”, the property manager took the even handed decision to end both tenancies on the 27th of March this year. Both had until 26 June to find other accommodation.
One tenant left, but the other appealed to the Tenancy Tribunal saying that the 90-day notice was retaliatory action by the property manager. This application by the tenant was dismissed by the Tenancy Tribunal on 22 May.
The tenant then appealed this decision to the District Court, but this was dismissed on 6 August, some two weeks after she was meant to have left.
The tenant then appealed to the High Court and was allowed to stay on in the property while waiting for the case to be heard.
The High Court dismissed the tenant’s appeal on 6 November and the Tenancy Tribunal then ended the tenancy on 11 November, more than 19 weeks after she was meant to move out of the property.
While all this was occurring, the property manager found a new tenant for the other property. However, the new tenant found the disruptive tenant’s behaviour so bad, they decided to leave their new home rather than wait for a suitable outcome.
Government is currently considering changing 90 -day termination notices to make it even harder for landlords to remove tenants who are behaving badly.
If this change becomes law, landlords will have to state a challengeable reason for ending the tenancy. This means the tenant can take them to the Tenancy Tribunal and force them to prove their case. Often with intimidating or antisocial behaviour, affected neighbours are reluctant to provide the evidence that landlords would need to end the tenancy. In this scenario, the victimised neighbour would have to leave their property rather than the badly behaving tenant.
Landlords need the current 90-day notice provisions to be able to effectively manage their properties. By removing them, Government is essentially protecting badly behaving tenants at the expense of their neighbours.

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