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Damaged Benchtop - tenants responsible?

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  • Damaged Benchtop - tenants responsible?

    image: https://ibb.co/nLURAb (sorry I didn't know how to attach directly here)

    Hi guys,

    Hoping for a little advice. My tenants just moved out, there's small wear and tear which is fine, but the thing that's got me annoyed is they chipped the cover of the formica benchtop (see photo above). The chip is approximately the size of a 10 cent coin. I'm slightly worried the damage will spread now as water will seep in etc. The benchtop is relatively new, changed only 1.5 years ago.

    1) Does anyone know if this damage is fixable, or what I can do to make sure it doesn't break further? Or which tradee should I bring in for this minor damage.

    2) Are the tenants responsible for fixing this or is it considered normal wear and tear? It doesn't look like a burn, it looks like they must have been chopping something on the benchtop and the knife slipped.

    Thanks very much in advance,


  • #2
    It doesn't matter if they dropped something or chopped something: it will be considered accidental damage and they are not liable. There are outfits that do these repairs, depending where you are.
    My blog. From personal experience.


    • #3
      Try your insurance company ?


      • #4
        Not normal wear & tear and of course the tenants are liable.
        Have you still got the bond?
        Tell the tenants they need to pay for it to be fixed.
        Either a new bench top or try:
        At Bench Doctors we repair bench tops, bathroom surfaces and flooring. We are a New Zealand owned company offers services throughout Auckland, Northland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki and Christchurch.
        The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates and a monthly salary - Fred Wilson.


        • #5
          if nothing else

          you can seal it with 5min epoxy from a $2 shop

          you can even try a half ugly job tinting it with kids artist paint
          have you defeated them?
          your demons


          • #6
            Originally posted by eri View Post
            if nothing else

            you can seal it with 5min epoxy from a $2 shop

            you can even try a half ugly job tinting it with kids artist paint
            or nail polish


            • #7
              Thank you everyone for all your help.

              The company that PC provided will be fixing the chip, and the tenants have agreed to pay for it. I'll be taking it out of their bond. Thanks PC!

              Have a good night


              • #8
                I agree with your approach, but suggest that should the tenant take advice in the future, they could decide to take you to the Tenancy Tribunal over this, as accidental damage by a tenant is to be covered by your insurance according to the Osaki ruling, and now established Tribunal practice.

                You have therefore contracted out of this and could be found to have to refund this and charged exemplary damages.

                Just putting this out for discussion, hoping that such an eveny wouldn't actually happen; but given recent a recent Tribunal award against a Landlord for an unconsented property taken by a malicious tenant, anything could happen !


                • #9
                  Have to agree with nice. Section 137(2) would apply. The maximum fine is $1000. If this was your first offence you might pay anywhere between $200 and $600 depending on whether you were a private landlord or a property manager. Some sort of cost-benefit analysis could be done.

                  I personally prefer stainless steel bench tops as I have found they them to be more robust.
                  No exemplary damages in the following but plenty of damaged benches.


                  https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search.../127290374.pdf (9-10)

                  https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search.../126775332.pdf (42-44)


                  • #10
                    Hi Nathan,
                    I'd get a quote to repair it and discuss it with the former tenant (if you're still in contact and haven't released their bond). They may agree to pay and agree it was their fault. You may have to be malleable with payment terms. Paid off over 6 payments say? I have just had a tenant damage a splash back. It was an accident but after discussing it with him, he was happy to pay to have it fixed. He's paying an additional amount on top of his rent, Problem solved.
                    Failing that your tenant is willing to accept the responsibility, I'd fix it. The Tenancy Tribunal would 'probably' rule in favour of the tenant.
                    There is also a product from Mitre Ten in which you can resurface the whole bench top. A couple of days work, sand, roll first sealer coat and then two top coats. Or depending on it's location (close to stove) you could insert a tile and seal. Utube has allsorts of ideas. Good luck.