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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22977
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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I had a tenancy agreement with a tenant but we negotiated by

Customer Question

I had a tenancy agreement with a tenant but we negotiated by text and I didn't get him to sign a contract. He agreed to rent our apartment until the end of the year but is now leaving in two weeks time. We kept the apartment empty for him for two months as he agreed to rent it until the end of the year which he is now reneging on. I still have his texts agreeing to these terms.
He paid a deposit/bond but is now using this as an excuse not to pay the last two weeks rent due.
Do we have any legal recourse to recover lost rent income from him? He is moving to another property.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.
Section 13 of the Residential Tenancies Act does require that a tenancy agreement must be in writing and signed by landlord and tenant. So to enforce a tenancy until the end of the year you would have some difficulty. The arrangement you made is not illegal because it does create a tenancy, but to claim to the end of the period you wanted, you would have needed an express term signed by both of you. I understand why you may have trusted this tenant, but unfortunately he is likely aware of the formal requirements and has taken advantage of your trust.