Former tenants have spoken out about a Whanganui property managerment firm's failure to lodge thousands of dollars worth of bonds and their lack of surprise the company had to be severely reprimanded by a government investigation.
The Rent Centre has been ordered to pay more than $34,000 for failing to lodge tenants' bonds as well as not providing information about insulation.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's team that investigates compliance of the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) found The Rent Centre had breached the law 116 times.
The investigation's spokesman, Steve Watson, described it as a "massive failing" for a company that had been in the property management business for 20 years.
The director of the Rent Centre, Les Gould, said he hadn't read the decision but the mistakes of the past were no longer happening.
"It was over 12 months ago. We were late depositing some bonds and we deposited them and that was the end of it.
"We're compliant now and really there's nothing more to say about it."
Gould said he wouldn't go into more detail because he was yet to read the decision, which was available online.
Former tenants of The Rent Centre were unsurprised to hear of the company's failings.
"I rented with them a year ago," said former tenant, who asked to be indentified only as Gypsy. She said she had no issues getting her bond back but it was never made clear whether the house had any kind of insulation.
It has been made mandatory for all landlords to declare the extent of insulation in their rental properties since July 1, 2016.
"It was freezing," Gypsy said, of the house she rented from The Rent Centre. "The house had no heating. It didn't feel like it was insulated because it was always damp.
"I asked them about insulation but they said there was nothing to comment on, they just said they weren't sure."
Two other former tenants, who both wouldn't be named in fear of hindering their chances of renting with another company, say they were never informed about their bond.
Landlords who charge a bond must lodge it with Tenancy Services within 23 working days. Tenants are then informed once that happens.
"I had a one year contract so I stayed after the year finished and rented normally without a contract," one woman said.
"After that year contract ended I got a letter in mail stating my bond was lodged ... So they lodged it a year later than technically they're meant to."
Another woman who rented with The Rent Centre for two years said she heard nothing of her bond for that time.
She had since been called by the Tenancy Tribunal saying she would be paid back $271 following the ruling against The Rent Centre.
"So I've just got a call from the Tenancy Tribunal ... and they [The Rent Centre] will be paying me and others approximately $271 because of the late bond issue, but we won't get it until it's paid up."
The decision against The Rent Centre stated the lodging of bonds was "fundamental to the integrity of the tenancy system".
Watson said landlords should take note of the decision and make sure they are operating within the law, especially when it came to insulation.
"Compliant insulation statements give tenants peace of mind when it comes to knowing the state of the insulation in their rental home when they start a tenancy," said Watson.
"These orders serve as a timely reminder that time is running out for landlords who have not checked to make sure that they have physical insulation installed in accordance with the regulations by July, 2019."