New Zealand Property Investors' Federation

The NZPIF is the umbrella body for 17 local Property Investors' Associations throughout New Zealand.

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Repairs and maintenance in rental properties

Landlords and tenants have a shared responsibility to keep a rental property in good condition. Landlords should provide and maintain the property in a reasonable condition and ensure locks and fastenings are adequate. Tenants should keep the property reasonably clean and tidy, and notify the landlord as soon as any repairs are needed.

Jeff Montgomery, Manager Client Services, Department of Building and Housing says, ‘As a landlord, you should give the tenant 24 hours’ written notice of entry before doing necessary repairs.  You must also pay the tenant back for any urgent repair work done if they made sufficient attempts to notify you beforehand.’

Repairs and maintenance should always be responded to as soon as possible. Urgent problems that can affect health and safety include:

  • blocked drains, toilet or sewage problems
  • gas leaks or bad water leaks
  • no power or hot water
  • electrical faults
  • faulty stove-tops.

Experienced landlords know the best time to do major capital maintenance is between tenancies. ’There can be problems with renovations and repairs which may be inconvenient to your tenants,’ Jeff says. ‘Major non-urgent maintenance during a tenancy requires the tenant’s agreement.’

Jeff advises landlords to maintain good communication with their tenants. ’It is important to acknowledge your tenant’s concerns and get the work done quickly. Sorting out repairs immediately will help you maintain a good relationship.’

Sometimes tenants may damage a property, or neglect to keep it clean and tidy. Tenants are responsible for any damage they or their guests cause, either intentionally or carelessly.

‘You can issue the tenant with a notice to fix the damage,’ says Jeff. ‘If the work is not done, you can make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal for a repair order. If the situation is serious, you can apply for the tenancy to be ended for breaching the tenancy agreement.’