The shortage of rental property combined with families in desperate need of accommodation was a recipe for disaster for a Manurewa landlord recently who was ordered to repay $15,840 in rent and $750 in damages for renting an unconsented converted garage as a household unit.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) brought the application to the Tenancy Tribunal. It is the first successful prosecution of a landlord for renting a substandard property, under the Government’s tenancy law reform passed last year.
The landlord came to MBIE’s attention following an article published in the media, which reported that his tenants, a family with a very young child, were required to leave their rental property without anywhere to go.
Subsequent investigations found that the Auckland Council had issued the landlord with notice to cease using the premises as a household unit, remove unconsented building works and revert the building back to a standalone garage. Despite the notice, the landlord continued to rent the garage before this work was completed.
There are several instances of families living in substandard accommodation across the country and many in converted premises. This is a timely reminder to ensure any works you are contemplating are consented before your property is tenanted.
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