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Tenancy question. Who pays?

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  • Tenancy question. Who pays?

    My daughter is flatting in the student area of Dunedin. She would like some advice for her friend, a tenant who is moving from her student flat from last year into a new place.

    this is the time line of events:

    July 2020 she and others sign tenancy agreement for 2021 stating rent, bond etc. start date 1 January 2021, rent and bond to be paid before 1 January. They pay these on 29 December.

    October 2020 she messages property manager who puts her onto the owner of new flat to arrange entry for moving company. Owner has a property management company who signed them up initially and took bond and first weeks rent, but then told them to contact owner about moving and paying weekly rent to directly. Does this seem strange?

    Tenant is living in Hamilton with family over holiday so can’t come in person to organise, which seems the norm for students and their flats.

    She asks owner for a suitable day after their lease starts for either her, the owner to let movers in or to provide key so someone else can let them in. Owner says just not before January 4th as it is busy but as she is always around at that time of year she can do it and mover can contact her directly. Just to remind her at the end of the year.

    They agree tenant will try to book for 8 January and remind owner later in the year. There is no talk of asking property manager to be involved.

    Mid December tenant contacts owner and says she has booked the 9 December and given movers owner’s phone details to contact on the day.

    18 January, after stuff has supposed to have been moved the tenant who is still in Hamilton tries to arrange access to the flat so her friend can get some of her stuff out and discovers the movers couldn’t get hold of the owner on the agreed moving day.

    Owner says yes sorry I have been away from Dunedin so I haven’t been in contact with the movers. She hadn’t asked property manager to fill in while she is out of town and let movers in either or told tenant she now couldn’t let movers in.

    Movers had put tenant’s stuff into storage which is out of town since they couldn’t get in. (A 40 minute round trip).

    Tenant then asks owner to contact movers to arrange access to the flat so their stuff can be moved out of storage. Owner should have their details as they have repeatedly tried to text and ring her to arrange access and haven’t been able to get hold of her. She says she is too busy as she is a landlord so the movers need to contact her.

    At some point after that the movers must have been given access as when on 4 February the tenants are back in Dunedin and are given a key their belongings are in the flat. It has been 5 weeks since they started paying rent.

    They have just got a $750 bill for storage and relocating the stuff to the flat. The price they were quoted to move it around the corner was $160 for 2 people per an hour so around $550 of this is an extra cost they wouldn’t have had if the landlord owner had opened the flat when she said she would and could.

    What can they do about this? Can they get owner to pay costs of storage and moving stuff the second time or better still get rent refunded until the day the owner let their gear into the flat as they haven’t had access to flat until then as the owner wasn’t in Dunedin and was not contactable and hadn’t told tenants they needed to deal with property manager as she was out of town.

    As students they don’t actually have the money to pay such a large bill for the mover so it could end up with debt collector fees etc added on top.
    Last edited by hawkeye; 08-02-2021, 04:27 PM.

  • #2
    How much of what you describe can be proven by verifiable SMS content, etc? Needed to avoid the 'he said,' 'she said' problem.

    Daughter's friend should send a - track-and-trace-type - communication to LL and PM about payment of the consequential costs incurred because LL was not available as originally specified / agreed / notified. Allow 14 days for a response and then said friend should lodge a TT application. Depending on the response[s], seek a refund of the TT appln. fee, in addition to the extra costs incurred, for the LL to avoid avoid a TT Hearing.

    Depending on the TA, the PM and LL are classified equally as the LL, pursuant to the RTA.
    landlord, in relation to any residential premises that are the subject of a tenancy agreement, means the grantor of a tenancy of the premises under the agreement; and, where appropriate, includes—
    (a) a prospective landlord; and
    (b) a former landlord; and
    (c) a lawful successor in title of a landlord to the premises; and
    (d) the personal representative of a deceased landlord; and
    (e) an agent of a landlord
    Last edited by Perry; 08-02-2021, 06:11 PM.


    • #3
      All the above events I have sighted in SMS messages between tenant and owner landlord so definitely the proof is there. Thanks for your advice.


      • #4
        Keep in mind that "consequential costs" are a tricky area of law.

        But as the TT Kangaroo Kourt is not bound by the law and very pro-tenant biased, the chances of success are fairly good.

        Section 85
        (2) The Tribunal shall . . . not be bound to . . . strict legal rights or obligations . . . .