Landlord ordered to pay tenants with sick child for failing to insulate rental property

A landlord that failed to insulate a rental property by the July 1 deadline has been ordered to pay $1500 to the tenants, who have a child with suspected pneumonia.

From July 1, new regulations required all rental homes to be fitted with ceiling and underfloor insulation. Landlords who don't ensure properties are insulated are now liable to be fined up to $4000.

Bay of Plenty couple Krystal and James Gamman successfully took their landlord - Kaimai Real Estate Limited trading as First National - to the Tenancy Tribunal over a lack of insulation in their Paengaroa rental.

The Tribunal found the property's ceiling insulation was "deficient" and there was "no underfloor insulation". It ordered the landlord to install the insulation by August 13 and pay the Gammans $1500 immediately.

It came to that sum by noting the landlord was aware of its obligation to insulate but only took action to carry out an assessment two months before the deadline - despite Krystal saying she made a previous property manager aware of the issue last year.

Krystal says she had offered her community services card to the property manager at the time to reduce the cost of installing the insulation.

A mitigating factor for the landlord, however, was that they did attempt to get an assessment on the property. A contractor had been sent to the rental but due to a "health emergency" for the tenants, they were unable to access the property.

"The Gammans' interests have not been served as they have been concerned about dampness in the house with young children, one of whom was hospitalised last year with respiratory issues, and is now in winter with suspected pneumonia," the decision said.

According to the Tenancy Tribunal decision, the property is a 1950s/1960s timber weatherboard cottage with single glazing on the windows. Krystal claims the house is very cold in the winter "with lots of condensation around windows in spite of making their best efforts to ventilate".


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