What landlords, renters can do if rental property becomes uninhabitable Auckland flooding

Many renters and landlords are facing the prospect of a damaged property after the deluge of rain which hit the upper North Island. 

The flooding has seen 69 Auckland homes red-stickered - meaning they're uninhabitable - and 300 yellow-stickered - meaning there is restricted access. 

So if you're a tenant or landlord and your property has minor damage or is uninhabitable, what are your rights? 

Renters United president Geordie Rogers told AM on Tuesday if your rental property has been damaged by the flooding, renters have several options at their disposal. 

"In terms of your rights as a renter, when your home has been flooded out, if it's uninhabitable and that usually means you don't have access to cooking facilities and cleaning facilities, then you do have the right to stop paying rent until that can be repaired," Rogers told AM co-host Melissa Chan-Green.   

"If it's only minor damage, which means you can't use one or two bedrooms, you can engage in a conversation with your landlord about making sure your rent is reduced appropriately."

Renters United president Geordie Rogers.
Renters United president Geordie Rogers. Photo credit: AM

If your rental property is totally uninhabitable and you need to leave, Rogers said you need to give two days' notice. 

"That does have to be given to the landlord in writing, clearly stating that you are notifying them that you're leaving the property because it is uninhabitable and if you have any issues with that, it's good to reach out for help," he said. 

"The Citizens Advice Bureau and Community Law are the best places to go for that."

Landlords will also be affected by the heavy rain, with their rental properties potentially damaged by the flooding. 

Rogers said landlords have the right to ask their tenants to leave, but they have to give seven days' notice. 

"If they need to get in and do major work to the property, that can be really hard with tenants in there. So landlords do also have the right to provide seven days' notice to end the tenancy," Rogers explained. 

"In that case, we would definitely suggest that landlords have an open and frank conversation with the tenant about what needs to happen. They do have the opportunity to try and help find that tenant, find a new place.

"But they can definitely if they need to provide that seven days' notice to make those major repairs."

If negotiations between the tenant and landlord break down, Rogers recommends the tenant goes to the tenancy services. 

"If you're not able to come to a resolution, then the best place to go is the tenancy services - that's run by the Government. They have both mediations where you can sit down in a room with your landlord and someone will negotiate that and help you through the process," he explained. 

"Or you can go to the tribunal and actually get the tribunal to order a rent reduction or an end of the tenancy. So even if there are extenuating circumstances around the Auckland floods that mean you can no longer live in your property, you can have a conversation with tenancy services and a tribunal could help decide whether you can leave that tenancy early or not."

Watch the full interview with Geordie Rogers above.