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The word ‘reasonable’ is found throughout the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 but this can be difficult to navigate because one person’s interpretation of ‘reasonable’ is not the same as another’s. One area that has proven troublesome for landlords and tenants is to establish what is ‘reasonably clean and tidy’ when it comes to vacating a property.
As per section 40 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, “the tenant must ensure that the premises are left reasonably clean and tidy and remove all rubbish”.
A recent Tenancy Tribunal case clarified what ‘reasonably clean
and tidy’ means:
The Tribunal stated that “the words ‘reasonably clean and reasonably tidy condition’ do not impose an absolute standard. This standard will vary according to the age and condition of the premises. There is no requirement that each and every individual item in the premises be left ‘reasonably clean and tidy’, only an overall obligation in relation to the tenancy premises. Also, a tenant generally should not be expected to keep the premises any cleaner and tidier than they were at the commencement of the tenancy.”
Harcourts property managers conduct thorough vacating inspections, comparing the in going and outgoing reports to establish the condition of the property when the tenant took possession and when the tenant vacated, using photographic evidence where possible. If some items in a property are not clean when a tenant vacates, a property manager will request that these items are cleaned and if necessary, apply to the tribunal for cleaning costs. We are finding, however, that we may not be awarded the cleaning costs, as the tribunal has stated that there is no requirement for each and every item to be clean.
Landlords should be aware that some Adjudicators are stating that landlords should expect to professionally clean a property between tenancies. We consider this acknowledgement that
‘reasonably clean’ is not actually considered clean enough for the commencement of a tenancy and we tend to agree. To hand over a ‘very clean’ property at the commencement of a tenancy is the best possible start to a trouble-free tenancy. The opposite can also hold true for the beginning of a troublesome tenancy, something good landlords and property managers avoid. Fortunately, many tenants do leave the property in a very clean and tidy state and professional cleaning to take the property from ‘reasonably clean’ to very clean is not always required.
You can view the tribunal case here.
The Government has announced a suite of proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA). They will be drafted into a Bill to amend the RTA which will be introduced to Parliament in the first half of 2020. The proposed changes are not law yet and are still subject to change.
The key changes for landlords and tenants |
• Landlords will not be able to end a periodic tenancy without a reason, whereas previously landlords were able to issue 90 days notice without disclosing why. The legislation sets out specific reasons that a landlord may use to end a periodic tenancy:
- If the landlord has issued a tenant three notices for separate antisocial acts in any 90-day period and applies to the Tenancy Tribunal to end the tenancy.
- If the landlord has given notice that a tenant has been at least five working days late with their rent payment on three separate occasions within a 90-day period and applies to the Tenancy Tribunal to end the tenancy.
- The landlord intends to make the property available for sale within 90 days of the tenant leaving the property.
- If the property was acquired for a business use other than residential rental accommodation and termination is required for the purposes of the business.
- The landlord intends to carry out extensive alterations or redevelopment at the property and it would be unpractical for the tenant to reside at the property during the process.
- The landlord wants to change the use of the premises.
- The premises are to be demolished.
- The landlord is not the owner of the property and the landlord’s interest ends.
• Fixed-term tenancies will become periodic tenancies at the end of the fixed term. This applies unless the landlord and tenant agree otherwise, the tenant gives 28 days notice which has increased from 21 days notice, or the landlord gives notice using one of the specified reasons listed in the RTA for periodic tenancies (above).
• Notice periods extend from 42 days to 63 days when a landlord or a member of their family requires the property to live in, and they must reside in the property for at least 90 days.
• Notice periods extend from 42 days to 90 days when a property is sold with a requirement by the owner for vacant possession.
• The minimum period between rent increases will be raised from six months to twelve months.
• Tenants must request permission to install a minor fitting and landlords can only decline for specified reasons. Tenants must pay for the installation cost. Landlords can place reasonable conditions around how the minor fitting is installed and tenants must remove the fittings and remediate the property when the tenancy ends if the landlord does not agree to the fittings staying. Minor fittings could be securing furniture or appliances, installing child safe latches or baby gates.
• The Regulator, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), will have new compliance tools to take direct action against parties who are not meeting their obligations:
- Penalty amounts will be increased in line with rental increases since 2006, when the penalty amounts were set.
- Issue infringement notices for straightforward breaches of the RTA.
- Issue improvement notices to correct behaviours where parties have breached the RTA.
• Soliciting rental bids, for example, by advertising a property without a rental price, will be prohibited.
• A party who is successful in the Tenancy Tribunal can have their identifying details removed from the Tribunal’s decision.
• Assignment of lease requests can only be declined if this is reasonable in the circumstances. Landlords must provide a breakdown of any costs, conditions and processes they are applying upon giving a tenant consent.
Harcourts has vast experience and expertise in residential property management and our property managers ensure that they are up to date with changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. We remain committed to protecting our client’s interests and helping them meet their responsibilities under the RTA. Any breaches of the Act by tenants are well documented when they occur, offering protection for landlords.
Old Greenhithe Luxury Escape
Address | 42 Marae Road, Greenhithe
Tender | Thursday 12 Dec 2019 4:00 pm (Unless Sold Prior)
Viewing | Saturday & Sunday 1.00-1.30pm
Agent | Leigh Mosley – M: 0274 871 705 or P: 09 413 7721
Agent | Phil Mosley – M: 0274 585 765 or P: 09 477 1184
Celebrating a truly spectacular elevated position in Old Greenhithe, this property presents private resort-style living at its quintessential best. Located at the tip of Marae Road’s picturesque peninsula, the privileged position captures dazzling bush, water and city views from every angle. The owners have lived here for the past 35 years, seamlessly expanding the original ‘60s residence over time to grow with their family. They’ve created a luxurious, spacious and stylish retreat, designed to exist in perfect harmony with the natural landscape.
The lifestyle is a special one, relishing a true connection with the water and 1119m2 native bush setting. Old Greenhithe is a much-loved and highly sought-after location for families, with Marae Road enjoying an exceptional coastal aspect. The village shops and eateries are close by, along with the Lucas Creek boat ramp, the Pony Club for horse lovers, as well as parks, reserves, sports grounds and excellent local schools.
The property is located at the very end of Marae Road’s cul-de-sac, tucked beneath the street and suspended within the treetops. Block, iron and cedar construction blends seamlessly within its native setting, with a well-designed, generous floorplan creating many restful spaces to relax, entertain and enjoy.
The front entrance opens into a wide, open central area, where an elegant and tasteful interior design theme creates the perfect subtle backdrop for the eye-catching outlook.
The formal lounge has a wood fire, deep window seat and opens out to a private deck and beautifully landscaped gardens. Views must be seen to be believed – an ever-changing spectacle encompassing boats bobbing in the bay, the Upper Harbour Bridge, Hobsonville Point, the Waitakeres and all the way down the harbour to the city.
The central terrace has a glass balustrade to ensure the outlook remains uninterrupted, with a big bifold window creating excellent connection with the kitchen. This designer hub will impress chefs, with its central breakfast island and generous butler’s pantry.
Double doors open into the recreation wing, featuring warm timber sarked ceilings, large picture windows and its own bathroom. The area is big enough for a pool table and large lounge suite and opens out through bifolds to the sun-drenched, north-facing swimming pool complex. Feature water fountains create a soothing soundtrack and an expansive terrace sets the scene for wonderful summer entertaining.
All the accommodation is located upstairs, with the lavish master retreat enjoying its own walk-in wardrobe, ensuite and office/ nursery. Three of the four bedrooms up here enjoy their own decks.
This uniquely wonderful dream home is located within its own picturesque, private and truly privileged microclimate. It celebrates a truly unique and captivating promontory position and one of the best views in Greenhithe.