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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22314
Experience:  37 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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My ex wife was in charge of renting our joint property out.

Customer Question

My ex wife was in charge of renting our joint property out. She allowed a dubious couple to rent the home based upon a reference from one rental agency. Turned out the guy involved was a convicted criminal and also a drug pusher/manufacturer.
I met the tenant 4-5 months into the tenancy and could quickly see he was not to be trusted, his body language, evasiveness appearance etc. I mean it was obvious to anyone this was not someone to rent your property to!!
Further he has placed a security camera over the front porch without permission. I told my ex that there was no way she should have let the property out to those people and she was crazy to do so. We lost one other tenant on an adjoining property due the goings on late at night. Appears he was distributing as well as possible manufacturing. I told m\y ex we had to move them on without causing retribution to ourselves. We managed to do this over the next 3 months. We later had a Sale Agreement on the home but the rumor mill caused the buyer to ask for drug testing on the home. Subsequently it was found to be positive for Methamphetamine. We lost our sale. 2 years down the track and having spent $150k to rectify this we are still struggling to sell the home. The property has been un-rented this whole time. I have been through so much mental stress with this yet my ex expects me to accept this as a reasonable mistake that we have to share the risk on. We are about to settle on the property and I know she will have a lsit of things she wants for herself from this, what I need to understand is do I have a case against her for negligence?
I appreciate that my message is a bit long winded but I wanted to precis my situation as best I can.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 9 months ago.

You could certainly argue this in the settlement, although the Property Relationships Act does have equal sharing. To argue for less than equal shares, you would need to show particular circumstances under Zection 13

This says

Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 9 months ago.

13Exception to equal sharing

  • (1)If the court considers that there are extraordinary circumstances that make equal sharing of property or money under section 11 or section 11A or section 11B or section 12 repugnant to justice, the share of each spouse or partner in that property or money is to be determined in accordance with the contribution of each spouse to the marriage or of each civil union partner to the civil union or of each de facto partner to the de facto relationship.

    (2)This section is subject to sections 14 to 17A.

Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 9 months ago.

So you need to show her negligence was very bad, and much more than just a mistake. The courts have set a high threshold for this and it may not be easy

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