David Hargreaves says despite the wave of both pro and anti comments about the Government's review of the Residential Tenancies Act, what is being proposed is in fact a disappointingly shallow series of tweaks; but what's the thing with pets?

David Hargreaves says despite the wave of both pro and anti comments about the Government's review of the Residential Tenancies Act, what is being proposed is in fact a disappointingly shallow series of tweaks; but what's the thing with pets?

By David Hargreaves

Whenever the Government says it's going to do something, inevitably those with a propensity to support the Government will say it's wonderful, while opponents will say it is not and cite variations on the theme that the new proposal is going to end civilisation as we know it.

The suspicion is often that both the pro and anti comments are made before anybody's digested the detail.

And I do recommend that anybody with an interest take some time to really digest the discussion document for the review of the Residential Tenancies Act.

Well, it's neither wonderful nor is it going to end civilisation as we know it.

Genuinely interested in your views, but I reckon people who really get their heads around what's being proposed are likely to form a similar view to me - that it's a fairly shallow series of tweaks that won't really change the renting environment in New Zealand.

I think we are long overdue a change in the renting environment or framework, if you will, in this country. Home ownership levels have fallen, and with a more mobile population, renting is here to stay. And we need to properly get our heads around that.

From my experience the renting environment in this country has tended to revolve around renters being wannabe house owners and therefore potentially having an 'attitude' about that, a defensiveness, while those who own and rent out properties are doing so looking for capital gains rather than rental yields. So, their tenants are very much peripheral in their thinking. They are the means to pay for the property till house prices go up enough to flick it on.

There's no maturity

Now, that's a sweeping generalisation, but that's tended to be a lot of my experience in the matter - and that's come both from extensive experience as a renter myself and from renting out my own property.

I think there's a lack of 'maturity' in the property rental market in this country and it's certainly not going to be helped by what the Government's proposing.

As I see it the main 'takeouts' from the discussion paper in terms of possible changes are:

  • ending 'no cause' tenancy terminations; 
  • increasing the amount of notice a landlord must generally give tenants to terminate a tenancy from 42 days to 90 days;
  • limiting rent increases to once a year;
  • whether there should be limitations on the practice of ‘rent bidding’; 
  • 'encouraging' landlords to allow tenants to keep pets.

I will come back later to the last one, which I think is nuts.

Okay, let's look a bit at some of these other points first.

The ending of 'no cause' tenancy terminations is a non-event. Doesn't matter. Landlords will still be able to do things like say they are going to move into the property themselves as an excuse to get tenants out. I had that happen to me in Wellington years ago. All that happened was that once a month or two had passed the landlord simply re-rented the property again. It's an easy out.

Not trusting the landlords

And yes, there are some suggestions in the discussion document that maybe the landlord will have to produce evidence/justification that what they say they are going to do they will do - but frankly I find that approach offensive and fundamentally untrusting. What are you going to do? Actually make sure the landlord does move into their property and stay there, or you will hit him or her with a big stick? If that's the approach then it's going to lead to even more red tape and administration costs.

So, as far as I'm concerned, the 'no cause' thing is 'no issue'. Landlords will find justification for ending a tenancy. They will still be able to do it.

Okay, increasing the notice period from 42 days to 90 days. Well, maybe that's fair enough. But in the interests of fairness I think the same should then apply to tenants, who at this stage have to give just 21 days. The discussion document does raise this issue and whether the tenants' period in which they must give notice should be lengthened. These things cut both ways. If the tenant has to be given sufficient time to move and find a new place then the landlord should have enough time to get a replacement tenant. So, if it's going to be three months for landlords the same should apply to tenants.

Limiting rent increases to one a year I think is eminently sensible. Most reviews, whether it be your pay or whatever, are done annually. Okay, the argument has already been that landlords will try to get higher rents upfront than they might have if they know they can increase rents 'little and often' - but the market will decide at the time the property is being rented out. That's the time at which the would-be tenant has the choice. Once they are already in the property and having reviews foisted on them, less so.

Limitations on 'rent bidding' - well, you mean getting rid of a Dutch auction for rental properties? Hell yes. No brainer. It's a hideous practice. It's up to the owner of the property to decide what they think they can rent it for and then offer it at that rent. Okay, if they subsequently think they might have undercooked the rental they are to receive, they can adjust it at the next rental review, ahem, in a year. 

Fixed term tenancies the way to go

To come back to the second point there about notice periods, remember this applies to 'periodic tenancies', effectively open-ended tenancies where neither side is committed to a particular period of time and therefore the agreement can be terminated at any time by either party.

As part of the 'maturity' aspect I was talking about earlier I would like to see far more attempts made to get fixed term contracts as the accepted standard for rental accommodation. 

And the discussion document does go into this subject but, well, I feel rather half-heartedly. These questions are asked:

Do you think tenants should have the right to renew, extend or modify their fixed-term tenancy if their landlord has not raised any concerns with their behaviour or if specific termination provisions do not apply at the time the tenancy was due to be renewed? What effect do you think this would have on the relationship between landlords and tenants?

What do you think would be the impact of setting a minimum length for fixed term agreements? What do you think would be a suitable length?

I think this is an avenue that's really worth pursuing, but from the way it wasn't highlighted in the Government's announcement, you suspect it won't be. I say let's have minimum fixed-term tenancies of one-year that are renegotiable at the end of that time and if they can't be renegotiated then three months' notice is given. 

To my mind this would help to 'normalise' rental activity more in this country.

Now, okay, there may be some people out there who do just want short term rentals and maybe there needs to be some better way to deal with that too, rather than the existing 'periodic tenancy'.

Years ago doing some OE in London I ended up renting a bedsit in South London from 'Dave'. He was a nice guy, Dave, but a bit suspicious. He would ONLY rent to people from NZ doing their OEs and he would type up a tenancy agreement EVERY month for, yes, a month, styling the accommodation as 'holiday accommodation'. Yes, a draughty bedsit in South London was where I 'holidayed' for a year.

No lateral thinking

That was a bit extreme, but if people do wish to have very temporary accommodation, then maybe there needs to be a new category devised. But again there's no sign of such lateral thinking in what the Government's put out there so far.

Now, to come back to the fixed-term deals, how might landlords be encouraged to go for these, instead of periodic tenancy deals that might encourage them to flick the property the minute Auckland prices start going up again?

Well, could there be, dare I suggest, some form of tax incentive given to landlords who go for these fixed term contracts? Yes, that is moving in the opposite direction to what this Government has been signalling, but applying an incentive that would be good for landlord and then ultimately the renter seems to make sense to me.

What I'm really saying is that the whole way in which our properties are rented out needs looking at. I think there are things that could be done to 'normalise' the renting of property in this country. But what's being planned is just a serious of tweaks that won't achieve much and won't lead to substantive change. And we do need to change the way we view renting property in this country.

Okay, and finally...the pets. Sombody seems to have a bee in their bonnet about this.

This Government's already gone down this track with state houses.

I think if there's anything truly offensive in the latest discussion document, then the bit effectively aimed toward forcing landlords to accept pets is it.

Your own pets are always wonderful

Look, nobody's cats and dogs ever make a mess and wreck a place, so the owners think. That's the prerogative of pet owners. It's NOT their pets. They are not bad! They behave! They are wonderful. 

Yeah, well...I used to have a couple of cats that I kept both in rental property and then later in my own home. My memories are not so rose-tinted. If it's any consolation to the owner of the property I rented, can I say that the cats did far more damage to my home later on than they did the rental.

Anybody who has ever owned a Burmese-breed pussycat would or should know that:

  1. They are incredibly fun and rewarding pets to have.
  2. They can break virtually anything.

In the same way that a landlord can choose who they have as tenants, it should be entirely up to a landlord whether they want to risk having pets in their properties or not. For me it would be just not worth the risk.

But the Government's thinking is clearly at the moment to force landlords into a position in which the default situation is one where pets must be accepted unless jolly good reasons can be given, as these options in the discussion document show:

One option for clarifying the law in this area is to prohibit landlords from declining a pet request or from including a no pets clause in the tenancy agreement, unless doing so was aligned with specified grounds 

Another option could be that a landlord must not ‘unreasonably withhold’ consent to a tenant’s request to keep a pet. This would be similar to how the RTA deals with a tenant requesting permission to sublet their rental property. Disputes about whether a landlord’s refusal to give consent to a pet request was unreasonable would be decided by the Tenancy Tribunal or resolved in mediation. 

There is some mention in the discussion document of the idea of a 'pet bond', which would be additional to any other tenant bond, and which could be used for damage repaid. That IS a good idea anyway regardless of what else might be decided.

More tribunal tangles

I hope the Government can be talked out of heading down the 'you must accept pets' route though. The other point is that, if landlords are forced into a situation where supposedly they must accept pets unless they can come up with reasons why not, they will simply choose tenants that don't have pets. And then maybe tenants will wise up to this and not declare that they have pets. And then it will all get very messy and there will be red tape and tribunal hearings and all sorts.

Not necessary. Just let the landlords have the choice they have now. And let the landlords be able to advertise openly that they don't want pets. Going down the other path will cause trouble.

Okay, I've just managed to vent a bit about a part of the discussion document that is in many ways fairly trivial and a side-issue. But I guess in its own way that sums up what's wrong with the whole series of proposals as they stand.

Instead of looking at the whole way properties are rented out in this country and coming up with a new regime that properly takes us forward into an era in which, yes, less people do own homes and more rent, what the Government's trying to do is add a few bits on to the existing system. 

That's disappointing and it won't take us toward the kinds of change in attitude that we need in this country toward property renting.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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Cats may be ok. But no dogs pls.

My dog's don't drink, smoke, take meth, pee on the carpet, rip open walls or complain about the mould. Great tenants...whats the problem?

The problem is that many properties are not suitable for pets, no yard space for dogs for instance, high rise apartments. It should be the landlords decision on if they should be allowed, not the governments.

Yes, that is something that definitely need to be accounted for. Pet Dobermann in apartment 5A makes no sense, pet budgie shouldn't be a problem.

I have a rental unit with no yard space. Over the years I have had 2 tenants who got dogs contrary to the no pets clause in the tenancy agreement. These both ended in a craptacular mess. I will never let a tenant in this unit who has a dog, regardless of the law.

Mrs the point.....that its the tenant, not the dog causing the problem. The dog is the hand of the tenant.

Indeed, it was the tenant that I took to the tenancy tribunal, not the dog.

Not if I wanted to live there as I am highly alergic to pets especially cats.

If a portion of residential rentals could take on the form of commercial rentals I’d be keen. Let me own the land and building structure, with the tenant owning the fit out. If I want to realise the investment then I sell the interest based on the NPV of future cash flows. I wouldn’t allow subletting, and would require strong powers in the event of rental default. Make it about the cash flow and not the interpersonal issues dealing with other people’s travails and I’m in.

Some houses are let on 5 year and 10 year contract to HNZ. So when the owner wants to realise their investment their potential buyer pool is much smaller.

"would require strong powers in the event of rental default"

Like Super Powers ? Honestly, any business owner has to deal with debtors. I have T and Cs that are watertight, most customers are good, some are crap, we manage them.

I’m curious about people’s thoughts around rent bidding. Is it so equally terrible as when we bid on a property to buy? Or is it that bidding for a service is foreign to us? Why does the property seller have a right to let the market decide what their place is worth but not landlords? It would be an interesting discussion and I think there would be a lot of ideological inconsistency.

Im fine with rent bidding, just so long as they put in nice big bold text on the ad RENT AUCTION so I know not to waste my time. Advertising with a price then running a rent auction is a scummy move, its bait and switch.

Bidding on a house at auction, you know you are at an auction, you know you are bidding against others.

And the other thing about auction vs rent auction.. one is a once off price, the rent auction is an ongoing cost, so that extra $10 is actually $520/year.

Sometimes the rent bidding is started by prospective tenants not the landlord - happened to a friend of mind. He didn't take the highest bidder but the solo mum that will probably be there for 5 years and look after the house!

He's smarter than most the landlords here then.
I have no problem with tenants offering more than advertised if they want to, but if a landlord came back to me and said other tenants have offered more will you pay more.. the answer would probably be "No, and we aren't interested any longer, good luck with those tenants."

I agree.
However, the bidding dynamic is very different. There is a huge amount of asymmetric information between parties in a rental situation, relative to a property sale. Also it would be very difficult to establish a fair process for bidding, given the parasitic nature of the property management industry.

Also, we don't have a similar process in rent increase schedules - Landlords seem to be happy with dictating an arbitrary rent increase, so why shouldn't they be happy with setting a fixed price?
If they want an auction process for the rental amount, they can't have a condition of nominal increases in rent each year. That's an illogical position.
Typical "I only want the competitive market when it suits me" behavior.

Interesting, I think all of you points are valid but also moot in some way as like a normal auction all the t’s & c’s would set before the auction so everyone knows where they stand.
I agree with the “I only want the competitive market when it suits me” comment but that doesn’t differ from anything else especially the property buying scenario, auctions when it’s hot and negotiation when it’s not.

RE : "There is a huge amount of asymmetric information between parties in a rental situation, relative to a property sale"
- could you explain ?

I think rent bidding is more like the gazump (spelling) thing that happens in the UK for property sales.

Presumably it works both ways, if you are banned from offering higher rents, you are also banned from asking for rent discounts. Rents crashed in Christchurch as housing supply increased, so plenty of people asked for and received lower rents as rents reduced.

Pets can help a persons mental well being so perhaps that’s their rationale.

Ever since we adopted a cat I have cut the number of fist sized holes left in the wall by 1/3rd.

I have a property where there are roughly 7 cats in immediately neighboring properties. Needless to say my wifes' vegetable garden was a stinking mess of cat poo. We got a dog. I trained it to take a dislike to cats. There are lots of lovely birds nesting in my trees now.

is that you Gareth Morgan?

I suggest 2 more cats to reduce fist sized holes to zero.

This whole conversation would be unnecessary if supply and demand for rental housing was in balance. At the moment property owners have all the power, but in a balanced market good tenants can negotiate conditions and walk away if they strike a bad landlord.

The government needs to be boosting supply and looking at immigration levels and Air B-n-B to reduce demand.

"...an excuse to get tenants out. I had that happen to me in Wellington years ago."
A landlord that does that and forgoes a couple months rent as you say before reletting must have some strong reasons. David please don't tell us that you were the victim, and it was all the fault of a malicious and nasty landlord that you found yourself in that position.
We have rented many times both before we owned and after we sold the family home. Not once have we had the situation you describe where the landlord gave 42 days notice let alone on fictitious grounds. Yes it does happen rarely but this just sounds like landlord bashing

I agree, if the rent's being paid and the house looked after why would a Landlord need to concoct some dodgy scheme about "moving back into the house" to move a tenant on?

To get it vacant to sell it. Happened to me twice, and no, we weren't anything other than good tenants. One of them I had moved in as a flatmate of the owner, then a few months later she moved out to move in with her new partner, then 4 months later decided to sell and told me and the other flatmate that her brother was coming back from overseas.. (all BS of course, i'm not even sure she had a brother).

But using it to evict a good tenant and then re-rent makes little sense. Either the tenant wasn't so good, or they thought they could get more rent, or there is more to the story (my guess would be an attempt to sell that failed so it went back on the rental market)

David's story doesn't say that the LL had that intention to sell vacant

David says "All that happened was that once a month or two had passed the landlord simply re-rented the property again."

It's a bit rough reflecting LLs generally using this ploy but usually they are desperate to shift on someone difficult.

Anyway isn't six weeks clear notice (allowing extra days for mail delivery) ample? If not, it's because of the quality of tenant. And at the end of it, it really makes no difference, the longer time just means the notice will be on the fridge or pinned to the wall that much longer.

David probably doesn't know what the Landlords intentions were, other than to move him on.
If the intention was to re-rent why would you wait two months? It could be a genuine case of the landlords family member intending to return and things didn't pan out.

The law is what it is. I bet you'd bitch if there was a 7 day clause for tenants to give notice due to family circumstances and they regularly used that instead of giving you the full notice period. And its a lot more work for a tenant to move than for a landlord to rent a place out. The tenant actually has to box and move all their belongings etc.

If my landlord gave me notice at an inconvenient time 6 weeks would be hellishly stressful to get moved.. I can be overseas/out of town for three weeks at a time when we are installing/commissioning a new project.

If you want tenants to have to stay in their previous flat for 90 days after giving notice, expect that when you find a new tenant for your flat, to have to wait for 90 days as the new renters sit out their notice period at their previous flat.

I disagree on pets David.
If you accept that pets are a fundamental aspect of being human - for so many people pets are a great source of joy and companionship - then it stands that, in a society where rental is becoming more and more common, it should be a fundamental right to keep a pet.
The issue can be addressed with a pet bond.

I was about to rent a place when the landlord asked me what my hobbies were. I said among other things, surfing. Things did not go well after that. I think the govt should bring in a law that there cannot be discrimination against surfies.... :)

Fritz. Yes, keeping pets especially dogs has many, indeed enormous advantages for society. If landlords cannot cope with pets, its time for them to get out of the business. The more that get out the more homes one hopes wil become privately owned. These properties will then be better maintained, including aesthetically, yet another gain for society.

One lives in hope of well maintained homes and properties on every street haha. The biggest landlord is the state and most people know streets of state houses are the most run down, crappy areas with burnt tyre rubber marks along the roads. The government should leave rentals to private owners

Sure, just so long as they put rules in that force private landlords to rent to state housing types, and remove accommodation supplements. Great idea.

Can they jump hurdles like giving up drugs, no smoking ciggies inside, controlling their children so they grow up as responsible citizens. No I didn't think so.

Right, so you don't want the state to house them, you don't want to house them so where are they going to go?

Away ;p

What I originally said prag is that the quality of state housing buildings and properties is the lowest quality and care of homes compared to any other owner. Just look at the streets of state homes and you get a sense of gloom. These are state houses which are owned by a government which currently is making proclamations affecting thousands of others and doesn't do sh*t to make their properties look like anyone actually cares. Suggestion 1, employ gardeners and do a little bit of simple landscaping
Suggestion 2, run inspiring and fun competitions between state tenants for the best flower garden, best veggie garden, best home cooking using home grown ingredients.
I don't expect you will agree but it would help the tenants to have input and just maybe create some pride

You also said : "The government should leave rentals to private owners". So which is it. Govt should keep doing state houses, or should get out of them?

And actually, you've said the govt should get out of state houses many times... so yeah, the above is a load of backpedalling. Par for course.

Dodging the point is your forte

Your points are about as sharp as a tennis ball.

I believe they do have some sort of scheme to acknowledge well kept properties.

I can't say I have heard of it

Body corporate says: No pets allowed,
Landlord can’t say: No pets allowed,
Is the tenant liable to the body corporate directly for the breach or is the landlord the one on the hook?

My list of hobbies (when I was renting), pulling weeds from the garden, airing the place always, keeping everything nice and tidy inside, not wearing out carpet etc. Oh and I only cook very bland food and nothing that creates steam.

I'm curious, how do you not wear out the carpet?
Ropes suspended from the ceiling like tarzan?

Don't wear stupid footwear inside and shuffle along scuffing your feet against the carpet.

'I think there's a lack of 'maturity' in the property rental market in this country'

I agree, watching the experiences of renting friends and family. A recurring theme is professional property managers with 'attitude' and how to 'manage' them. The profession is not regarded with a great deal of respect in our circles.

We rented a couple of years back when building a new house, the first time we had been long term tenants for decades. It was an eye opener. The condescending and dismissive attitudes of many agents were obvious. Clearly we were inferior beings because we were renters. Join the queue, fill out the forms, plenty more people will take the place if you don't demonstrate proper humility around our powerful personages. We quickly figured out that dealing directly with owners was the way to go.

The 90 day notice period is as stupid as it can get.
It will totally throw into chaos the whole housing sales process, as people won’t or can’t wait the 90 days.
Tenants who have been given the 90 days won’t be able to find another property that will suit the new landlord because there will be the 90 day hold up with that as well.
It is just another I thought out policy that this COL has come up with.
How many of this !abour led government have any acumen when it comes to the rental market?
Twyford has got experience with tents and it is showing!

More blathering idiocy from you TM2.
"Tenants who have been given the 90 days won’t be able to find another property that will suit the new landlord because there will be the 90 day hold up with that as well."

Why would there be a 90 day hold up on that? The main reason a landlord would be looking for a new tenant would be because the other tenant has already given notice.. so they will know exactly when the property is going to be available. Not hard to put that into the ad like everybody does now.

As a landlord I will choose to whom rents my properties and what pets are suitable for the property no matter what law these Peanuts might introduce !

Anonymous NZ has noted accordingly.

"I'm a Landlord, It's a business for tax purposes but it's my home so you cannot have pets, no you cannot hang that picture there.".

There has to be a balance in rights. Being a landlord does not, and should not, give you unfettered rights.
NZ's tenancy laws are archaic and overly biased towards landlords. They need to change.

I think you mean biased against landlords. Example the case where a Dunedin landlord provided a good clean warm dwelling and the tenant got all their $10k rent back based on a technicality

FAKE NEWS, that ruling was overturned.

Fake news yourself. Check out the case of the landlord who won his case against the diplomat only to have foreign affairs weigh in and let the tenant walk

oi, bring those goal posts back..

Houseworks,

Are there bad tenants? of course,but it is crystal clear that the balance of power lies with landlords and many of them are just ratbags. The overall quality of NZ's housing stock is appalling and far too many tenants have to live in substandard accommodation,paying ridiculously high rents for crap.
We must have a more equitable system and those landlords who cannot or will not upgrade their properties should be forced out-and I am a landlord,though with only one property.

Don't you realise that the gubmints approach is only going to make rents higher. Instead of incentivizing the standard they want they seem to punish good LL. There is no business sense and no common sense

Standard landlord response..stamp feet and threaten to raise prices (like they aren't already as high as the market will bear)

Go on ignore the reality unpragmatist! You saying prices are at a peak so it couldn't happen, shouldn't happen and won't happen is not going to make any difference. That nice little rental of yours will be costing you more down the track. That is unless the good landlord you have takes pity, but that just gives a false sense of security and the inevitable will hit home sooner or later.

..the screams of a terrified man. Get over it, house prices are on the down. Peak property has had it's day...we are in the process of reversal. You just don't want to see it.

The blind utterances of a naysayer. The exchange rate is dropping, by xmas imported goods will be higher and petrol before then. Wages and salaries are on the way up and so is inflation. I hope you don't mind paying more for your morning coffee and your weekly rent.

Hits keep coming.... tax offset changes, overseas lolly scramble ban, leverage limit changes, insulation changes, and now RTA exit terms and restrictions on rent increases. On the radar Building WOF standards and capital gains tax.

Must be happy punter days in speculator debt stacking over leverage land.

When a landlord receives 30 applications for their property, they can definitely be picky and why is it unreasonable for them to chose the tenants that they believe poses the least risk for the same amount of return? when they have to wait 5 weeks before anyone even shows interest, they have to then be more accommodating.

why not incentivise people to be long term landlords - ie reducing the capital gains tax every 10,15, 20 years etc? It does seem the system does not trust landlords - telling tenants how you are going to formulate rental increases is going to be a nightmare ie bad tenant (current market value plus 30%) Good tenant - Current market less ?? as I want to keep you as a tenant)??????

Can't reduce a capital gains tax that doesn't exist...

All these people who assert that 'Landlords should be compelled to . . .'
need to remember that no-one can be forced to rent out a property and become a landlord.

And those who then say 'Thats great, there will be more houses for buyers to buy' should also remember that while the average rental houses 3.8 people, the average owner-occupied home houses 2.1 people.
Thats an awful lot of people who would be homeless if there are no rentals available.

A 90 day notice period would effectively end the policy of rental bidding anyway. All a landlord has to do is start the 90 day advertising process with a ridiculously high rent, and then reduce it each week until he gets a tenant who is willing to pay up. As for the tenants, who wants to put up with open for inspections every week for 3 months?

indeed if the tenant is being evicted (which is when the 90day rule in the govt discussion paper applies), it probably both in their and the landlords best interest to wind things up as quickly as they can find a place to move to.

I'm too busy knocking out a couple of walls in my landlords house to contribute to this post...and my 8 pitbulls are under the house!

This writer doesn’t know much about the rental market. Two examples. Firstly, the thing about being in it primarily for capital gains is a sweeping generalisation. I’m in it to buy and hold and so are lots of other landlords. He also doesn’t understand fixed term rentals. 1. Most landlords are doing this already. 2. The three months notice idea following the end is a fixed term won’t work. Anyone who is renting property will know that there are certain times of the year when properties are in demand and others when they are not. Having to deal with a year plus three months at every renewal won’t work.

We took on tenants with a dog after they assured us that he would not cause any damage. They also offered to sign a document stating that they would make good any damage associated with the pet which we accepted. Their dog pissed in multiple places in every carpeted room in the home. They started locking it in the carpeted garage where it pissed so much that the urine went through the carpet into the concrete slab. Long story short, the carpets all need replacing - quoted at over 20k (its a very large home with top of the line carpets) and in summer the stench rising from the concrete in the garage is intolerable (we are told by an expert we will have to put up with the smell for 3+ years even after replacing the carpet and treating the slab. Tenancy tribunal gave us nothing more than a couple of grand towards a "patch repair" which would result in different coloured squares of carpet throughout the home and they also ruled that the separate "make good" pet agreement was not valid. We can now understand why people choose to leave properties empty. We will never rent out a home again having experienced the joke that is the tenancy tribunal and they way they interpret tenancy law.

Oh but Fritz told us that the tenancy tribunal is biased in favour of landlord haha. Very sorry to hear about your predicament. If this new rule/law goes ahead then more houses will be left without tenants. There is a large block of units not far from us and they have been vacant for quite a while, like for years.

Houseworks, based on Fritz's posts I think he or she is most likely a student and obviously has no understanding of tenancy tribunal bias or what cost and effort is involved in home ownership or the ownership, upkeep and management of a rental property (with or without pets and tenants damaging it). I was no different when I was renting myself as a young man - I felt just as entitled. Now I shake my head in horror at the way my friends and I treated our rental properties knowing now how much heartache it must have caused the landlords.