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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    130

    Default Tenant had urgent repairs done and now expects me to pay

    Hi team,

    Just looking for some advice after I've researched the applicable RTA rules here. What are your thoughts?

    On Saturday at 1:30pm I missed a call from my tenant. I was with another tenant, under the kitchen sink with a multitool installing a new dishwasher for them. I looked at my phone to see the missed call, no message left, but a text straight after reading 'Hi xxxx, hope you're ok. We have a few issues at the house. Could you please call me back when you have a minute? Thank you.'

    The message didn't seem urgent as she asked if I could 'call when I had a minute' so I jammed it back into my pocket to call back...when I had a minute, after installing the dishwasher.

    I called back 1.5hrs later and the tenant explained that they had a tradesman working on the garage door as we spoke, as the door wouldn't shut fully and they were concerned it would be open overnight. They arranged this because they could not get a hold of me.

    I was furious and as politely as I could, told them that they should have tried again to contact me, or stated some urgency in their message because I finished with my tenant at 3pm and would have come straight out and looked at the garage door. I said I am not paying the bill. They are adamant that I should pay. I do not believe that they tried hard enough to contact me. The RTA says that I need to pay if the tenant made a reasonable attempt to give me notice of the disrepair. I don't believe that they have made a reasonable attempt. Their first message stated no urgency and in fact just told me to call them 'when I had a minute' and also the 1.5 hours between their message and my callback to them, they managed to contact a random tradesman and get him on site and working on a Saturday... I don't think they left enough time for me to 'call them when I had a minute'. What would the ruling be? Did they make a reasonable attempt as per below?

    Also, the other 'issue' they mentioned in their message was a hole in the garage wall they made when moving furniture around, and also a scrape in the hallway that they tried to fix themselves and painted a different colour so it is not in uniform with the rest of the house. It's a bloody brand new house.

    45 Landlord’s responsibilities
    (1) The landlord shall—
    ....
    (d) compensate the tenant for any reasonable expenses incurred by the tenant in repairing the premises where—
    (i) the state of disrepair has arisen otherwise than as a result of a breach of the tenancy agreement by the tenant and is likely to cause injury to persons or property or is otherwise serious and urgent; and
    (ii) the tenant has given the landlord notice of the state of disrepair or made a reasonable attempt to do so
    Last edited by Perry; 10-07-2018 at 12:29 PM. Reason: formatting

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Cyberspace
    Posts
    5,754

    Default

    My thoughts are to inform them, in writing, of the above.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    130

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Keys View Post
    My thoughts are to inform them, in writing, of the above.
    Thank you for the response keys. I will do so. I am going to visit in a few days time for an inspection and a face to face too.
    I just wonder what the TT would consider 'a reasonable attempt' - perhaps 2x phone calls and a voice message? Hopefully I won't have to find out.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Hamilton
    Posts
    3,592

    Default

    Hi Micholas,

    I would also look at what work was done, and would you have required the work to be done anyway? - obviously if you would have end up calling a similar tradesperson, it would seem fair to pay it.

    So I would go into the meeting with the tenant completely open, listen to their side and inspect what the issue was, what was fixed etc.

    If small money, I would be tempted to give a little. ie at least pay part. Is it worth upsetting a tenant over a small amount?

    But at the meeting, set out that next time they need to let you know it is urgent and give you a chance to respond! Otherwise you won't pay.

    Ross
    More Profit from Property? TEACH ME MORE
    Ross Barnett - Coombe Smith Property Accountants
    Proud to give the best property advice for over 13 years.

  5. #5

    Default

    section 45(d)(i) and (ii) are conjunctive - i.e. both limbs have to be satisfied. Find it hard pressed for the tenants to argue that the garage door not shutting fully "is likely to cause injury to persons or property or is otherwise serious and urgent"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    7,620

    Default

    What you're going through is good experience and you can never know the RTA too intimately - however here's something to consider going forward......

    I wonder if it would have played out the same had there been a property manager in place. Is it likely that they took extra liberty due to you directly managing your property versus a third party doing it? I know this doesn't help newbie investor directly, but it may be worth considering these comments - going forward.

    Distancing yourself from the tenant can prove useful. Arguably, there's a higher level of respect from the tenant when the property is managed by a 'business'. The property manager is also tasked with clearly instructing the tenant on the process for repairs and what is and what is not considered an emergency and in need of urgent repair etc. The property manager would also have agreed a spending cap for urgent repairs before needing your consent to proceed for the smaller jobs so this too works its magic too.

    cheers,

    Donna
    PropertyTalk Blog - property articles

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Cyberspace
    Posts
    5,754

    Default

    ^^^Which is probably why the consumer survey indicated that tenants preferred to deal with owners.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Hastings
    Posts
    14,833

    Default

    And this sort of thing might be another reason to make DIY LLs think carefully.

    UN = United Nasties.

    Even more galling - got the bond refunded.
    Want a great looking concrete swimming pool in Hawke's Bay? Designer Pools will do the job for you!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    130

    Default

    Thank you for your comments everyone I appreciate the thoughts.

    Even though I believe I am in the right here and the tenant did not make a reasonable attempt to contact me... I am trying to think of the long term picture. I am visiting for an inspection tonight and will discuss this along with the hole and scrape in the walls they let me know about... I will see what the invoice from the random garage door guy is and make a decision after that. The shame of it is that it is a new house so the building company would have been called on Monday morning to come and sort it out for free. Also, to solve their 'safety' concerns of the garage door being partly open overnight.... you just pull that big red cord hanging down in the middle of the garage. I even googled 'how to close a garage door' and 'can't close garage door' and pages of information and videos came up on how to pull the red cord. My brother also lives 2x houses down and has visited them in the past when they needed help with their alarm, and he's told them to come and see him if they need anything at all, and they did not do so. Apologies this has turned into a rant.

    Perhaps I need to start a regular posting like FlyerNZL.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    208

    Default

    On a side note, if it is a new house and you already have damage and communication issues, are they really tenants you want to keep?


 

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