Can Tenancy Services investigate landlords?

Photo: Simeon W Follow Apartment by Simeon W

There is a special unit within Tenancy Services that is given the power to monitor and enforce legal compliance on NZ landlords. It is called the Tenancy Compliance and Investigations team (TCIT).

Why was it established?

The tenancy compliance team was established in 2016 following the changes to the Residential Tenancies Act. Their main focus is to investigate complaints against landlords and help in situations where the property poses a significant risk to tenants' health or safety.

What can trigger an investigation?

Tenants who are concerned about the condition of their rental home can contact the Tenancy Compliance and Investigations team.

Generally, a specific complaint made by a tenant or anecdotal or media information can trigger action.

Not all complaints will trigger an investigation. In some situations, the TCIT can provide advice on how to reach a resolution or provide instructions on how to apply for mediation.

As well as investigating alleged breaches, the TCIT can randomly audit landlords and property managers.

The team can't intervene in every issue that is brought to their attention.

What does the team investigate?

Some areas the TCIT looks into are:

  • if the landlord has committed a serious or ongoing breach of the Act
  • if the condition of the property is a significant risk to people‚Äôs health or safety

It's important to remember that the team does not investigate tenants.

How do they hold landlords responsible?

Tenancy Services expects landlords to meet their obligations and so the TCIT has a range of ways to hold landlords accountable. Some of them are:

  • issue warnings and provide landlords with an opportunity to rectify minor issues
  • ask landlords to provide information to establish a breach
  • instigate mediation for the problem to be solved directly between the tenant and landlord
  • take matters to the Tenancy Tribunal and issue fines

How do you stay complaiant?

Although the TCIT has no intention to check every New Zealand landlord or rental home, they expect you to maintain basic housing standards and to comply with the law.

If you're cutting corners, then you might want to read the Tenancy Services Compliance checklist to make sure all the necessary boxes are ticked.

Simply "forgetting" to lodge the bond to the Tenancy Bond Centre can cost you $250, not providing an insulation statement with the tenancy agreement - another $100. Serious ongoing breaches will be subject to compliance action and potentially exemplary damages of up to $4,000 per offence.

But if you're a law-abiding landlord who looks after their rental properties and tenants, then you should have nothing to worry about.

The information contained in this article is exclusively for promotional purposes. It does not in any way constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as the basis for any legal action or contractual dealings. The information is not and does not attempt to be, a comprehensive account of the relevant law in New Zealand. If you require legal advice you should seek independent legal counsel. myRent.co.nz does not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.

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