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635 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 93704 27-Nov-2011 18:27 Send private message

Evening all,

I live in a 2 bedroom flat in Ilam near the Uni. Our rent is $250 per week but all things considered (location, building etc) it's reasonable.

My flatmate has decided he would rather move closer to the Polytech instead of taking the bus next year. Our contract (which we both resigned on the 14th Nov 2011) states that if we leave we must continue paying rent until new tenants are found. He says he cannot afford to bus, but I know he has a 4 figure bank account with Kiwibank (one of those long term high interest things) and also we get $1k from the goverment for travel expenses anyway (which he uses for other things).

Now, my flatmate is saying that it was illegal for First National to have us resign a copy of last years contract with new dates and signatures, even though all the other details were valid. He is saying that that is "defacing" a contract. Bear in mind that the previous year's contract was a copy of the 2009 contract with new dates, rent increase and signatures. This would be the second of these contracts he has signed and never made a fuss about until now.

So he is planning on finishing his exams then buggering off up north to his parents, where he plans to claim the dole and use it to save. Most likely for his trip to the USA to visit his girlfriend next July. He has stated he doesn't believe that he is shafting me because First National would have to release him while making me pay only my half of the rent (which is not a documented split).

There are some serious breakdowns in his logic there and he will be convinced otherwise.

Now I have set up a meeting tomorrow with my property manager, because this is heading straight for the tribunal. Unfortunately as all the bills go through my accounts he can essentially just cold turkey the payments when he wants. Since I'm a student on summer scholarship with the Uni, this will demolish my rental money (I'm paid upfront) at a vastly accelerated rate and I wont reach my next Pay Day without eviction.

----------------

So, has anyone here ever heard of this BS law about resigning rental contracts before? and also for those renting, do you get fresh contracts everytime or just resign like we do?

I'm hoping to gain a little more knowledge through the conversation here with which to fight back.

All I've managed to do so far is attempt to reason (fail) and alert the property managers to the trick he intends to spring on them in the next few weeks (he plans to mention Illegal contract then just walk). My reasoning was with prior knowledge their lawyers can be waiting for him.




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182 posts

Master Geek

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  Reply # 550653 27-Nov-2011 19:17 Send private message

There is nothing wrong with the contract - it is valid and enforceable. Both of you are 'jointly and severably' liable for the contract which means the landlord/property manager can make you pay the full amount of rent due. If you don't you will end up in the Tenancy Tribunal with the landlord asking for posession and for both of you to be liable for the full rent outstanding up until the end of your fixed term. You could try and recover something from your flatmate but it will likely be a lot of work with limited chance of success.

Best option is to discuss this with your property manager. You will probably need to find another flatmate and then get your current flatmate to agree to the change of tenant on the agreement.

Fixed term tenancies with other people on the tenancy agreement as tenants are never a good idea because you can't get rid of them unless they agree. It is a better idea to have a flatting agreement instead where you can kick rogue flatmates out if you have problems without all the restrictions of a tenancy agreement.

182 posts

Master Geek

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  Reply # 550655 27-Nov-2011 19:24 Send private message

On another matter, is there a carpet cleaning clause in your tenancy agreement?



635 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 550660 27-Nov-2011 19:47 Send private message

Yes there is a carpet cleaning clause in our agreement. There is also a large bond, $330 each from memory.

The problem is not that he won't leave, it's that he won't honor his requirement to pay rent until a replacement is found. I intend to work with the property manager to legally enforce the contract until we can replace him.

Thank you for confirming what I thought about the contract, it's nice to know I am not totally screwed legally




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983 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 550669 27-Nov-2011 20:12 Send private message

CruciasNZ: Yes there is a carpet cleaning clause in our agreement. There is also a large bond, $330 each from memory.


If the Carpet Cleaning clauses requires you to have the carpets (professionally) cleaned when leaving, that's an illegal clause subject to significant exemplary damages at the tenancy tribunal should you follow it up. 




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My hobby - listing small amounts of interesting/useful hobby electronic components hardware and stuff on Trademe for cheap, all good geek stuff for the "maker" revolution ;-)

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635 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 550684 27-Nov-2011 21:00 Send private message

Thanks for the advice but I'm not expecting to have to clean the carpet, just having trouble with someone morals




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14 posts

Geek


  Reply # 550696 27-Nov-2011 21:58 Send private message


This could get ugly bro so try not to make it personal. first call the tennancy tribunal, it could save you alot af stress and anger. Call them on 0800 83 62 62 or 0800 tenancy. Theyle give you good information on what you can do next. Youl b ok im sure



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 550706 27-Nov-2011 22:32 Send private message

Good advice thanks, I will call them as  well as my property manager to get the most help &  Info I can. Boy I'm glad this website exists, the fact that I know I can get sound advice here anytime l need it is  both a credit to both this community & NZ as a whole.




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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 550710 27-Nov-2011 22:40 Send private message

IANAL but that defacing stuff sounds like BS to me

Slightly OT, but what are you doing for your scholarship? Im doing one in the geography department.




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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 550711 27-Nov-2011 22:46 Send private message

Yeah when he told me his "awesome plan" my BS detector  went off too. Its Just a bit too convenient that a large & reputable  real estate company would make such a simple & far reaching contractual error

 As for scholarship, I have the geotechnical engineering one. I am modelling rock wall cracking in an Australian deep shaft mine using computer software and real physical data & images  (collected by my academic while he was on sabbatical)




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182 posts

Master Geek

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  Reply # 550913 28-Nov-2011 12:39 Send private message

Bastos:
This could get ugly bro so try not to make it personal. first call the tennancy tribunal, it could save you alot af stress and anger. Call them on 0800 83 62 62 or 0800 tenancy. Theyle give you good information on what you can do next. Youl b ok im sure

When you call the 0800 number you are only talking to a CSR in the Dept of Building and Housing's call centre - not the Tenancy Tribunal. The advice may or may not be correct and is not binding on the Tenancy Tribunal. Post the advice you recieve here and we will let you know whether we think you should rely on it or not.

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Master Geek

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  Reply # 550915 28-Nov-2011 12:42 Send private message

sleemanj:
CruciasNZ: Yes there is a carpet cleaning clause in our agreement. There is also a large bond, $330 each from memory.


If the Carpet Cleaning clauses requires you to have the carpets (professionally) cleaned when leaving, that's an illegal clause subject to significant exemplary damages at the tenancy tribunal should you follow it up. 

Yes - the landlord is liable for up to $1000 exemplary damages which are paid to the tenant. When the landlord is a professional property manager the amount awarded is usually quite high as they are expected by the Tenancy Tribunal to know their legal obligations.
The mere presence of the clause in the tenancy agreement makes the landlord liable - they don't have to enforce it to have exemplary damages awarded against them.



635 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 550917 28-Nov-2011 12:45 Send private message

The carpet cleaning is irrelevant since we haven't damaged it. Plus that's not the point of this discussion, someone is trying to negate a contract based on the fact it was an updated version (new dates and new signitures etc) of the previous one, instead of a brand new edition.

----------


I know the contract is legal, therefore the issue resolves down into proving that. Is there a way to get a official validation of the contract? Ie take it before a legal type person and get a signed letter stating it's validity?

I only ask because esentially my flatmate will refuse my word on the matter and walk out, resulting in tribunals chasing him for owed debt to me and really stretching my resources. Such a document would be irrefutable evidence we are right. I'm going to ask my property manager when I speak to him, but thought I'd ask here too




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182 posts

Master Geek

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  Reply # 550921 28-Nov-2011 12:51 Send private message

CruciasNZ: The carpet cleaning is irrelevant since we haven't damaged it. Plus that's not the point of this discussion, someone is trying to negate a contract based on the fact it was an updated version (new dates and new signitures etc) of the previous one, instead of a brand new edition.

It isn't irrelevant at all. See below.


I know the contract is legal, therefore the issue resolves down into proving that. Is there a way to get a official validation of the contract? Ie take it before a legal type person and get a signed letter stating it's validity?

I only ask because esentially my flatmate will refuse my word on the matter and walk out, resulting in tribunals chasing him for owed debt to me and really stretching my resources. Such a document would be irrefutable evidence we are right. I'm going to ask my property manager when I speak to him, but thought I'd ask here too

The landlord is entitled to chase you for any money owing as well and you will have to pay or be evicted. The landlord is entitled to tell you to sort out the problem yourself. The carpet cleaning clause provides you with leverage if the landlord won't help you sort it out as if they come after you for money owing you can get some money off them for the illegal clause. Does this make sense?

182 posts

Master Geek

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  Reply # 550925 28-Nov-2011 12:55 Send private message

If you would like a letter confirming the validity of the contract you could try Community Law Canterbury or the Tenants Protection Association

305 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 550926 28-Nov-2011 12:57 Send private message

sleemanj: 
If the Carpet Cleaning clauses requires you to have the carpets (professionally) cleaned when leaving, that's an illegal clause subject to significant exemplary damages at the tenancy tribunal should you follow it up. 


Hi,

Would you be able to cite a source for what you are saying? I am quite interested in that particular point. 
Thanks,

Guillaume 

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