Can tenants make minor changes to a rental property

Can tenants make minor changes to a rental property?

Can my tenant put up a TV bracket on the wall?

9 March 2022 Written by Marina George, director Renthub

These sorts of questions are being asked a lot of late and although most owners are okay with tenants requests to make minor changes to the property there are still owners who are resistant to anything, even a picture hook, being put on the wall.

As part of the changes to the Residential Tenancies Act that took effect on 11 February 2021 an owner can’t unreasonably deny a request for a minor change to the property.

But what’s a minor change?

In Section 42B of the Residential Tenancies Act there are seven things which if the tenants request ticks all the boxes, will mean that what they are requesting is classified as a minor change.

  1. Does the minor change pose a low risk of damage to the property
  • Will the property be easily returned to the same condition when the minor change is removed (eg wall would be reinstated to it’s original condition when TV bracket removed)
  • The minor change doesn’t pose a risk to healthy and safety (this includes work to install, remove or undo the minor change).
  • The structural integrity, weathertightness or character of the building is not compromised due to the nature of the minor change
  • The minor change wouldn’t have a negative effect on any of the neighbours enjoyment of their homes eg (a structure that inhibits a view or sunlight would not be reasonable as a minor change)
  • The minor change doesn’t require any consents (eg building consents)
  • The minor change doesn’t breach any obligation or restriction relevant to the property (eg covenants, body corporate rules, planning laws etc).

If the tenants request ticks all the above boxes then permission should be granted. 

Be sure to have the request received in writing, ask them to be very specific about what their request is and ask for photos so that you have a record of exactly what the changes will be.

At the end of the tenancy your tenants are obligated to return the minor change back to the original condition unless you both agree that the change can remain (if it’s the TV bracket for example you could agree that rather than remove it, that the bracket remains for future tenants to use.)

The information contained in this article does not in any way constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as the basis for any legal action or contractual dealings. The information is not and does not attempt to be, a comprehensive account of the relevant law in New Zealand. If you require legal advice, you should seek independent legal counsel. Renthub Ltd does not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.

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