Hi Chris,I'm taking a letting agent to the Tenancy Tribunal because the place was infested with rats when I moved in and same scenario ongoing (8 months). I'm applying for exemplary damages under Health & Safety breaches. I've documented every email to and from as per advice from Dept of Housing but the agent doesn't seem bothered. I'm a Health & Safety guy by trade and as far as I can see they are bang to rights. I feel I must be missing something (or they are daft).
explaining in writing repeatedly what to do to fix rat infestation - water, food, access, 3rd party (rentokil) opinion.
Hi Welcome to JustAnswer. My first response will follow shortly. Please feel free to follow up if anything is not clear
The agent may just be bluffing and not care. You cannot get exemplary damages under tenancy law but you will get somewhere under the OSH matter. Have you tried withholding rent in the meantime-that usually gets their attention
As you will be aware the landlord must keep this property safe and healthy and perhaps the agent has just not told the owner. You could try bypassing the agent and contact the owner
What about this though?
45(1A) (Landlord’s failure to meet obligations in respect of cleanliness, maintenance, or building, or health and safety requirements)3,000
The owner seems to be what the agent is hiding behind.
Dept of Housing advice is not to withhold rent surely?
Sorry, I didnt realise you were talking about the fines under the Act. You certainly can claim these, but exemplary damages are another sort of damages.
My advice is to put the money aside in a special account that you can show to the landlord if needed to show that it can be paid if ordered. The DOH dont like suggesting this, but there is nothing wrong with doing so
Dunno maybe wrong terminology - got it off Dept Housing helpline - same principle though? They get fined or whatever and it goes to the tenant?
What's the burden of proof like? I've plenty but canny help but think these respondents must know something I don't...
The test is the civil test of proving on the balance of probabilities. But I think some photos of dead and alive rats are pretty convincing
Right listen got a couple more questions but am on this unlimited subscription type thing how about make them fresh ones and then they get credited as extra money for you etc?
Actually I only answer questions and dont handle the money, so just ask here if you want.
I've asked them specifically to provide me with all info - notes etc under the Privacy Act - where I'm identifiable - they're not doing it. Made a complaint to the Office of Privacy Commissioner - whats the deal there?
Also I'm saying that OSH rules apply - the house is technically a place of work - contractors, their staff, customers (me) and so leptospirosis (off of rat piss) is a significant hazrd thus 'all practicable steps etc' apply. What do you think/
They must provide a full copy of anything held about you. If they do not comply you can complain to the Privacy Commissioner at http://privacy.org.nz/. The OSH point is certainly arguable, and I agree with your analysis. The Tribunaql would not have jurisdiction as this has to go to the District Court for a prosecution and the Department of Labour prosecutes (you will be aware of this)
Yeah did that - no word back yet. Well what about that link then with the RTA about Health n Safety? why is that under RTA if Tenancy Tribunal canny rule on it?
No wasn't aware - am a (Scottish) foreigner so haveny fathomed the way all NZ law works...
You are looking at section 45
(1)The landlord shall—
(a)provide the premises in a reasonable state of cleanliness; and
(b)provide and maintain the premises in a reasonable state of repair having regard to the age and character of the premises and the period during which the premises are likely to remain habitable and available for residential purposes; and
(c)comply with all requirements in respect of buildings, health, and safety under any enactment so far as they apply to the premises; and
right, so do you mean that what it really means is under RTA it has to comply with other laws and that as such the remedy for a breach under the other law refrred to has to addressed in a difffernet forum?
The requirements are parallel-the landlord can be liable under both Acts, but in practice the offending would be looked at as a whole even though there are separate tribunals acting-Tenancy Tribunal and District Court. Which ever is heard first would be reflected in the next hearing
so all good to hit them with it? hit them for the cash etc at Tribunal?
You will probably get the Tribunal hearing first and yes, claim for all losses and fines.
Cool man - hope you can have some time off the night for a small libation. Thanks man. You never know, seem to have an unlimited subscription so you might get questioned again. Cheers, have a good weekend...
No problem, and I will be having a wee dram soon
LLB MMgt FAMINZ 32 years qualified as lawyer
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).