Unlawful Dwellings

By Tyler Broughton

With the new Residential Tenancy Amendment Bill 2017 coming into effect later this year, apart from Methamphetamine and Tenant liability for damage one of the issues to be addressed is Unlawful dwellings. This relates to residential premises such as garages, commercial buildings or properties that are not fit for residential occupation, that do not comply with relevant building, health and safety legislation. The changes to this will have a significant impact on some landlords.

A couple of examples of this are:
• A dwelling without a building consent or that has building consent but does not have a CCC.
• A dwelling that has consent for human residence but where the owner has added facilities that do not comply like a kitchenette.                                                                                                                                                                                 • A sleep out that had been converted into a separate independent dwelling.
• a garage or small cottage;
• a flat beneath a house that had been converted into a
‘granny flat’.

The proposed changes mean that landlords and property managers can be prosecuted for placing tenants in properties that are unlawful for residential purposes.

What does this mean?

In a nutshell, it means that if you don’t have building consent and approval for long term accommodation don’t rent your property out until you do, otherwise in a worst case scenario, you may have to pay some rent back to your tenant.

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