A landlord who "ignored" the July 1 deadline to insulate rental properties must pay his tenants $2700 in damages.

A landlord has been ordered to pay his tenants $2700 after failing to install insulation in their rental property by July 1

The Tenancy Tribunal found Dean Spense only organised for insulation to be installed in his central Auckland house for $900 per week in early August.

The case was one of more than 200 applications about alleged breaches of insulation regulations by landlords received and assessed by Tenancy Services in July and August. 

According to the tribunal's decision, Spense's property manager at In Property Limited had tried to get Spense to arrange for insulation to be installed since March 2018 and had provided him with a quote for the work.

But Spense, who is believed to live in Tauranga, "left it too late to give a final instruction and then under-estimated the wait time".

The tribunal said the legal requirement for landlords to install ceiling insulation in rental properties by July 1 2019 had been "common knowledge" since the Residential Tenancies (Smoke Alarms and Insulation) Regulations 2016 came into effect three years earlier.

Landlords who failed to meet the deadline could be fined up to $4000.

Insulation was still yet to be installed at Spense's Kingsland rental property on August 24, but was expected to be installed by mid- to late-September.

The tribunal ordered Spense to pay his tenants Ashlee Choi, Keegan Rumble and Johnny Wana $2700 in exemplary damages.

"Obviously, this landlord chose to ignore his obligation until it was too late, and the completion of the installation may still be subject to further delay by the installers," it said.

"The tenants are currently experiencing winter without qualifying insulation and it is in the public interest that landlords comply with the requirements."

In a separate case heard by the tribunal, another landlord, Yuqing Angela Sun, was ordered to pay her tenants $600 in damages after failing to install her Auckland rental property by July 1.

The decision said an assessment by an insulation expert in April showed the property lacked underfloor insulation and ceiling insulation was inadequate. 

The issue with the ceiling insulation was fixed and Sun tried to install it under the floor in June but the work did not meet legal standards as there were gaps.

She  contacted a company to complete the job, but it was busy and couldn't finish it until July 12.

The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment's national manager of tenancy compliance and investigation Steve Watson said it received 1804 calls seeking advice on insulation between July 1 and August 31.

Article: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/property/115557631/auckland-landlord-must-pay-tenants-2700-for-ignoring-insulation-deadline
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