In a September 2017 decision the Tenancy Tribunal considered a former tenant's claim that the property she had rented was unlawful as it did not have consent for some minor changes to a downstairs area. These changes did not affect the structural safety of the building and the landlord has easily gained a retrospective compliance certificate during the complaint process.
The Tribunal decision went in favour of the ex-tenant and ordered that the landlord pay back all the rent paid by his outgoing tenant.
The landlord has finally received a sensible decision. Last week the District Court in Dunedin overturned the September ruling by the Tenancy Tribunal, and has ordered the ex-tenant to repay the rent that she recently recovered from the landlord. The ruling judge considered that the tenant had not suffered any ill-effects from the un-consented work and was not adversely impacted.
This latest decision is good news, but to ensure that our owners are protected from claims of unlawful dwelling we always recommend that they inspect council records before they provide rental accommodation. It is imperative to check that the current plans of the house match council records and that any building work undertaken since construction is consented where necessary.