Christchurch landlord ordered to pay following failure to maintain property and provide insulation statements

Published: 06 August 2020

Christchurch landlord Krishna Rani Saha has been ordered to pay a total of $8,515.84 by the Tenancy Tribunal as a result of 36 applications brought forward by MBIE’s Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team (TCIT).

The Tenancy Tribunal found Ms Saha did not meet her obligations as a landlord by failing to provide and maintain one of her rental properties in a reasonable state of repair. The property had rotten bathroom floors, an overflowing hot water cylinder, broken windows, black mould in the kitchen and ongoing rodent issues.

The tenants had lived at the property since 2015 and began to identify a number of maintenance issues once established in the property. Despite maintenance issues being raised and requests for repairs made, Ms Saha did not address these concerns until early 2019.

“Landlords need to be aware that by renting properties out to tenants they are running a business which comes with obligations that need to be met to comply with the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA),” says Paul Coggan, Acting National Manager Tenancy Compliance & Investigations Team.

“The most important obligation is the provision of housing that is safe, warm and dry as this directly affects the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders. Landlords need to consider the effects that their actions have on their tenants.”

Ms Saha was also found to have breached the RTA by failing to provide insulation statements to 35 tenants. The 35 tenancies related to seven residential properties in Christchurch, five of which are run as boarding houses.

“The Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team (TCIT) regularly proactively assess and investigate landlords across New Zealand to ensure they are complying with their responsibilities”, says Mr Coggan.

“Under the RTA, a landlord must include a signed statement in the tenancy agreement providing information on whether or not insulation is installed in the ceilings, walls and floors, including details of the location, type and condition of all insulation installed. These statements give tenants certainty and choice when it comes to choosing which rental property to live in.

“In Ms Saha’s case, by not providing the signed insulation statement for 35 tenancies and failing to maintain one of her properties, she has persistently and repeatedly breached the RTA. Ms Saha has acted as a landlord and property manager for a number of years and has frequently appeared before the Tribunal.

“Given her previous experience at the Tribunal and her tenure as a landlord, it is most concerning to see an ongoing disregard of the RTA. It also demonstrates failing in her business operations and lack of commitment to meeting her responsibilities and obligations.

“TCIT will continue to focus on landlords like Ms Saha who systematically breach the RTA and will hold landlords to account for behaviour which causes harm to their tenants.

“This outcome is a timely reminder that all boarding houses must comply with healthy homes standards, which include insulation standards, by 1 July 2021.”

Further information on the healthy homes standards, including compliance deadlines on the Tenancy Services website(external link)

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