The Tenancy Tribunal has fined landlords in Auckland, Whanganui and Wellington $17,000 for illegal activities including misleading statements on insulation, failing to lodge bonds and allowing tenants to live in buildings listed as dangerous.
West Auckland landlord and boarding house owner Peter Wheeler, a Whanganui maintenance business and Wellington landlord Perry Rama incurred the fines for not meeting their obligations under the law, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
"The tribunal has recently made orders totalling nearly $17,000 against three landlords as a result of investigations launched by the tenancy compliance and investigations team," a statement issued today said.
Peter Hackshaw, team acting national manager, said assessments and investigations were made proactively to ensure landlords were treating rental properties as businesses and meeting their responsibilities.
"Landlords who are not meeting their obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act can expect to be held to account, as is the case with these three landlords," Hackshaw said.
Wheeler, with five West Auckland places, was ordered to pay $12,344.64 for failing to lodge tenants' bond money. The adjudicator described his actions as being "intended to avoid the need to forward bond money to the Bond Centre" and "to avoid future scrutiny by the Tenancy Tribunal".
Wanganui Home Maintenance must pay $3563.52 after eight applications for failing to lodge bonds, failing to maintain premises and providing misleading insulation statements which the adjudicator said "…indicate[d] to the tenants that there was some insulation in the ceilings, which was not the case at all".
Wellington Landlord Perry Rama agreed to pay $1000 after allowing tenants to return to their rented property while it was still the subject of a Wellington City Council dangerous building notice. He also agreed to pass the management of the properties on to a property management company, the statement said.
Hackshaw said tenants needed to trust that their landlords were complying with tenancy law from the start of the relationship. Failing to lodge bond money was a breach of this trust, as is providing inaccurate information on insulation, he said.
"If landlords don't have the time and knowledge to manage their rental properties as a business, they should pass them on to someone who does," Hackshaw said.