A Dunedin property management company has been fined $2020 after delaying a roof fix on a rental property for more than a year, forcing the tenant to protect her children's belongings with buckets and tarpaulins.
Lincoln Darling Real Estate Ltd, trading as Darling Realty, and an internationally-based property owner named as Mr Futcher were found by the tribunal's Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team to be liable for the lack of action.
The tenant found several issues with the house after moving in on January 1, 2017, including rotting window frames, draughty windows and ceiling panels, and a roof leak.
They advised the property manager of the leak in the roof on January 18, 2017.
It was replaced in February 2018.
Team acting national manager Peter Hackshaw said those were 13 months where the tenant had to deal with water entering the property home every time it rained, and having to use buckets and tarpaulins to protect her children's belongings from water damage.
"But it's not just the damage to belongings that we were concerned about here. A leaky roof will lead to a damp home, which can result in a number of health issues for those living there.
"Every New Zealander is entitled to a warm, dry, safe home. The Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team is focused on cases where known harm is occurring."
The adjudicator found both the company and Mr Futcher were liable on the tenancy agreement, so both must pay the fine.
The breaches were described as "intentional" in the sense that the company and Mr Futcher were made aware of the need for repairs over an extended period of time during the tenancy but "simply failed to undertake those repairs within a reasonable time period".
"It's important that both property management companies and absent landlords fully understand their rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act.
"Those who are not meeting their obligations under the Act can expect to be held to account."