A recent decision by the Tenancy Tribunal in the Parry vs. Inglis case is completely unfair and we consider that it sets a worrisome precedent that exposes landlords to more risk while they carry out their business of providing rental accommodation.
In this case the tenant, Natalie Parry, laid a complaint with the Tribunal, claiming that the property she rented off the landlord, Vic Inglis, was 'unlawful' as it did not hold a current CCC or CoA*.
Ms Parry had lived in the house owned by the Inglis family for 8 months. In this time she sub-let the downstairs area without premission from the owners; additionally, damage was caused to the property. When discovered, the landlord requested that Parry leave the house.
Subsequently, Parry investigated the property with the Dunedin Council and found that some minor building work carried out in the downstairs area was not consented. She then laid a complaint with the Tenancy Tribunal according to the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (Sections 78(1)(d), 102(4)(a) & 137(4)) .
The Tribunal ruled that because the property could not be considered compliant with the terms of the Residential Tenancies Act it was therefore considered 'unlawful'. Vic Inglis was ordered to refund all rent collected over the 8-month tenancy, an amount of $10,960. Mr Inglis sought retrospective approval of the minor building works and received a CoA. The Tribunal considered this irrelevant as it was not issued prior to the start of the tenancy. Moreover, the tenant is not liable for the damage she caused to the property, nor will she be censured for sub-letting without permission, as the tenancy is considered illegal.
This is why we always discuss the importance of holding approvals and consents for any relevant building work with you. This is one of the first things we check - by looking after details like this we are ensuring that you are protected from claims from tenants.
Mr Inglis continues to appeal this decision and we hope for a fair resolution. We will keep you updated.
* Code Compliance Certificate or Certificate of Acceptance