Canterbury rental market service sped upHousing Earthquake Recovery
Canterbury tenants forced to end the lease of their property due to earthquake damage should have their bond money released within 24 hours, thanks to the Department of Building and Housing (DBH).
Housing Minister, Phil Heatley says DBH is working to ensure there are no unnecessary barriers to tenants receiving bond refunds once tenancies have ended.
"Most bonds for tenants wanting to leave rental properties are being refunded within 24 hours, provided there is no disagreement between landlord and tenant," says Mr Heatley.
"We need people to be housed in Canterbury and wanted to remove all unnecessary barriers to a tenant finding and renting a new sound property, if forced to leave a damaged one."
To facilitate this process DBH is proactively contacting landlords to ensure the speedy release of bonds. Since the quake, the Department has received over 670 calls from tenants and landlords, and has refunded 1242 bonds for properties in the Canterbury region.
DBH recognises landlord's rights and in those instances where there is a dispute, either over rent portions, or degrees of damage, the parties are being encouraged to resolve this through mediation or via the Tenancy Tribunal.
"Tribunal applications for the Canterbury region are down slightly on this time last year, so it's great to see that people are working together to find solutions and not needing to go to litigation, says Mr Heatley."
"DBH is prepared to mediate between parties, to encourage engagement between landlords and tenants to allow them to work out what might need to be done in a damaged property to resolve all issues quickly," he said.
Tenants and landlords looking for guidance should call 0800 836 262 or visit www.dbh.govt.nz.
As well as the 0800 TENANCY line, advice and information is also available from the Department's Christchurch office and Linwood Community Link Centre. Information is also being made available through Ministry of Social Development welfare centres.