A Tauranga property management company that failed to lodge multiple bonds and insulation statements to tenants has been ordered by the Tenancy Tribunal to pay more than $16,000.
In its ruling, the Tenancy Tribunal said it hoped the decision against Bay City Rentals would send a strong message to landlords about the importance of meeting their minimum legal requirements.
Bay City Rentals would have to pay a total of $16,417.12 for multiple counts of failing to lodge bonds within 23 working days, as well as failing to provide insulation statements to tenants in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA) and regulations.
Bay City Rentals was also ordered to pay $1492.12 of the total in associated costs.
Steve Watson, compliance and investigation, housing and tenancy services national manager for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, said in a written statement the most concerning aspect about the case was the number and frequency of breaches committed by the company.
Bay City Rental had also previously been before the tribunal for non-lodgement of bond.
"There is no justification for this behaviour, and particularly with their previous experience at the Tenancy Tribunal, the company should have known better.''
''The fact that TCIT (the ministry's tenancy compliance and investigations team) had discovered 126 breaches of the RTA shows a massive failing in the company's business operations and lack of understanding of their obligations."
The lodgement of bonds is fundamental to the integrity of the tenancy system, he said.
On 73 instances, Bay City Rentals failed to lodge the bond paid by the tenant within 23 working days to the Tenancy Bond Centre.
The delay in lodging bonds ranged from 31 to 701 working days, with an average of 266 working days.
The tribunal awarded 73 orders of exemplary damages of $150 where the landlord failed to lodge bonds within the legislative timeframe.
A further 53 orders required Bay City Rentals to pay $75 where no insulation statement was provided to the tenant as part of their tenancy agreement.
In many cases the tenancy agreement recorded that insulation would be assess later. In other cases the statement referred to there being compliant insulation but did not specify the type or condition to demonstrate it was sufficient to keep the property warm and dry.
"Compliant insulation statements gives tenants reassurance in knowing the state of the insulation in their rental home when they start a tenancy," Watson said in the statement.
"These orders serve as a timely reminder of the upcoming Healthy Home Standards which will require landlords to ensure they meet all required standards and provide a compliance statement with every new, varied or renewed tenancy from 1 July 2020."
The tenancy compliance and investigations team was established following the changes to the RTA that came into effect on July 1, 2016. The team focuses on significant or ongoing breaches of the RTA which pose a significant risk to vulnerable tenants.