“This prosecution is significant in that it is the first time the Government has pursued a landlord for failing to provide a warm, dry, safe home. Last year’s tenancy reforms enabled the ministry to directly prosecute landlords rather than relying on tenants to take an action in the Tribunal. The law change also introduced a requirement for smoke alarms, home insulation by July 2019 and strengthened tenancy protection when taking Tribunal cases over substandard rentals,” Dr Smith says.
The Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team was established late last year following the passage of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act and has been provided with a budget of $2.6 million this financial year and $3.3 million next year. The team has received 242 complaints to date, found 26 involved no breach, reached a compliance agreement with landlords in 76 cases, provided advice to landlords in 55 cases and to date has lodged cases with the Tribunal in three cases involving 199 properties.