Can house owners be fined for late maintenance?

Written by
Wallace Wang

21 May 2021

House owners in Auckland can be fined $670 for being too-slow with maintenance.

Whether it is a single room or an independent house, maintenance is necessary. For example, if the toilet is damaged, the washing machine and dishwasher have faults, and so on.

In New Zealand, both house owners and tenants have the responsibility to maintain the house. In case of damage, the house owner and tenant should negotiate to see which party should pay for the repair.


However, in the following two cases, the house owner should take the initiative to cover the maintenance.

1. When the equipment in the house is damaged due to natural disasters or theft, it is not the responsibility of the tenant, and the house owner should repair it.
2. The cost of the maintenance caused by gradual damage or natural ageing of the house should be undertaken by the house owner. For example, the ageing of the floor of the house and the natural damage of the water pipes.


Some house owners may carry out regular inspections and take the initiative to do house maintenance.

However, it is worth noting that there is also a time limit for the maintenance of damaged items and equipment.

The house owner must finish the maintenance within a reasonable time. If the maintenance is delayed too much, the house owner will be fined even if the maintenance is done.


Case analysis

Shortly after Tenant A moved into the house in West Oakland in November 2020, he found problems with the toilet, oven, washing machine faucet and shutters. Tenant A also said that he didn't get the key to the garage door.

The house owner did not deny the necessity of repair, and took the initiative to bear the cost of repair. He fixed the washer and replaced the oven in January. However, the toilet had not been repaired until March 10th.

In this regard, the house owner said that personnel changes, parts procurement, and pandemic restrictions caused delays in the maintenance. Although the delay was not intentional, the lease court still ruled that the tenant was entitled to compensation.

According to the recently published ruling of the Lease Arbitration Tribunal, although the house owner tried to fix these problems, he was still fined NZD 670.44 immediately because of the delayed maintenance.

To reduce disputes in housing maintenance, Mission Property suggests that house owners regularly inspect their houses. This can help confirm whether the house is damaged and if the tenant keeps the house clean and tidy. The maximum frequency of inspection is once every four weeks, and a notice should be given to the lessee at least 48 hours before inspection. Damaged parts in the house should be repaired in time.



If you don't have time for regular house inspection, or it is inconvenient for you to repair damaged items in time, consider Mission Property for property management.

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