Judy tells how abandoned tenancies really work!

31st March 2014 | By: Investor

This is an email sent to John Key and various other Government Ministers. Judy Morgan is a property manager in whangarei and not a happy woman! read on and download the replies below…

Judy Morgan - Property Manager in WhangareiI am writing to you with grave concerns regarding Section 61 – Abandonment of Premises. I am an Independent Property Manager of some 9 years.  Recently I have had a tenant “abandon” the premises.

The keys have not been returned, the rent is more than 21 days in arrears, there is damage to the property, snail-ridden letters in the letterbox etc.  There are no personal belongings of the tenant.  The property is essentially empty (except for rubbish).  It is more than obvious the property has been abandoned.

I lodged an application to the Tenancy Tribunal on 3rd May 2013 to gain possession of the said property.

The Tenancy Tribunal advised me that this hearing would not take place until 27th June 2013.  THIS IS EXTREMELY UNREALISTIC.  I called the Tenancy Tribunal and complained about this process so they have been able to bring it forward to the 31st May 2013.  STILL TOTALLY UNREALISTIC.   It means that I cannot as a Property Manager legally enter the property to remove rubbish, have it cleaned and so on ready to re-tenant.  A Property Manager’s “duty of care” is primarily to the owner.  That is not to say that a tenants health and safety is not paramount.  Consequently by the time we gain possession and have it ready to re-tenant, this could feasibly be up to three months.  Again INCREDIBLY UNREALISTIC.  This places the owner/s in financial jeopardy in many cases.

The Tenancy Act is biased towards tenants in many ways, too many to detail here.  It needs to be reviewed urgently.

It is grossly unfair that an owner should have to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to gain possession of his / hers property/ies especially when it is obvious the property has been abandoned.  Why should a person’s retirement fund be jeopardised by a delinquent tenant who uses the law to escape culpability and consequences – subsequently the process repeats.   If it weren’t for landlords, I’m convinced there would be more homeless people in New Zealand.  It is time the government looked at this again and more realistically.

I have subsequently ascertained from the Police that the tenant involved in this case has been incarcerated for 2 years for drugs.

Further I checked the “Australian Tenancy Act” regarding abandonment and I have enclosed the details of this.  This is what needs to happen here.  The owner is already behind with receiving rent and naturally by the time this gets to court for possession, obviously that amount will be much higher.  Not to mention going back to court for the arrears, damage etc.  Then it just goes on and on – trying to get payment from a tenant.  That process is also abominable.  Part of this Act I am sure encourages some tenants to flaunt the law because they know that little can be done about it under part of the present Act.

Change is needed urgently.

Tenants must not be allowed to continue to get away with this kind of behaviour.  There seems to be absolutely no consequences.  This Act in many cases encourages some tenants to do what they like.  And when you do catch up with them, few adjudicators apply the “fines” to them.  ABSURD – Why have them.  They no doubt apply them to landlords.  “FARCICAL”.  Maybe a “grading system applying to tenants could be introduced (similar to the drink/driving laws) and the grades be accessible to the public regardless of the Privacy Act.

The government should realise the number of renters the private sector satisfies.  As such the law should empower property owners the most expeditious methods in order to keep the properties rented and minimise costs.  As the law stands, it is difficult without good fortune to make money-renting property.  The pendulum has swung too far in the tenants favour as to cause landlords to fund delinquents and as such it is my belief that all such tenants should be blacklisted by the private sector to be satisfied by Housing NZ.

In closing – I have been told on several occasions by a local adjudicator that she has to be “mindful of the tenants” – not once has she said she has to be “mindful of the landlords”.

I look forward to your response.

Yours faithfully,

Judy Morgan
Managing Director
Judy Morgan Property Management & Rentals
192 Bank Street

Download a PDF of the ongoing discussion here

Judy Morgan letter to parliament (including Government replies)



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