The Tenancy Tribunal has sent a strong message to landlords who fail to meet their obligations under the Residential Tenancy Act.
Lina Liu, the landlord of two boarding houses, has been hit with a $4,100 fine after a non-compliant gas supply was found at one of her properties.
"Following complaints of a gas leak at one of the boarding houses, the gas supply to the property was found to be non-compliant," said National Manager Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Steve Watson.
"When the TCIT team looked into Ms Liu's operations, it was established that Ms Liu failed to have working smoke alarms at both of her properties and there were no written tenancy agreements with insulation statement in place."
The Tenancy Tribunal Ordered Ms Liu to pay $4000.00 in exemplary damages for these health and safety breaches, and additional $100.00 for failing to provide a written statement that adequately described the levels of insulation – a legal requirement that came into effect from 1 July 2016.
"Insulation statements were introduced to give tenants certainty and choice when it comes to choosing which rental house to live in. The lack of understanding in this area is something we see a lot in our work – it is great to see the Tribunal support the importance of these statements," Mr Watson said.
"Just as important as the financial deterrent, the Tenancy Tribunal issued an Order that allows TCIT to return to the property to ensure the gas work has been fixed, which will ensure future tenants can safely live in the rental."
The Tribunal also issued a restraining order for two years, which would see Liu face criminal charges in the District Court if she breached the law again.
"Landlords need to comply with the provisions of the RTA and not put tenant safety at risk through poor maintenance and ignoring the law. The Tenancy Tribunal Order rightly stated that smoke alarms go to the very heart of tenant safety," Watson said.