Resolving Disputes

Informal approaches

The first place to start with any disagreement is to talk directly with that person. Sometimes there is a misunderstanding that can be cleared up because the other person does not know there is a problem until you bring it to their attention.   Sometimes a conversation can confirm that you do disagree and you need to take the next step to resolving it.   

Address the problem – not the person!

People don’t like being told that they haven’t done something properly, and if they have made a mistake they want to be able to fix it and ‘save face’.

If you do come to any agreements about a dispute, it is still important to be professional and not casual – put it in writing and keep a copy for your records.


Formal approaches

Most people like to speak with the landlord over the phone, face to face, by email or by text. Letters seem very old fashioned and people worry that sending a letter is perceived as being ‘nasty’ by the person they sent it to. The important thing to remember is that not only is the relationship with the landlord important – so is your home. If you want a record of your agreements or concerns raised with the landlord, in writing is the best way.   A signed letter is the best record of all.

You can sent the landlord a notice to remedy, which formally advises the landlord how you believe they have breached their responsibilities as landlord, how you want them to remedy that breach, and advising them that you have the option of applying to the Tenancy Tribunal if the breach is not remedied.


Dealing with others who behave badly?

Keep your cool.   Stick to what it is you want to achieve and try not to get drawn into personal confrontations.

An old but true saying – two wrongs do not make a right!   Someone else not meeting their responsibilities does not give you permission to not meet yours.

Tenants often stop paying the rent because of required maintenance being refused by the landlord – which explains many of the evictions for rent arrears!


What if I have trouble dealing with conflict or get angry?

Changing any behaviour that you are used to takes courage, and no-one is perfect.   If you know you don’t react well in conflict situations, think of a strategy of how you want to manage conflict.   For example, what if the landlord turns up at the door without notice and insists on coming inside?   Clearly tell them they cannot enter and if they do enter, step aside and serve them with a 14 day notice to remedy as soon as possible.   If you hit them or even push them you can be evicted for assault, even if you are not charged with assault.

Contact Details

Tenants Protection Association (ChCh) Inc
Te Tōpū Tiaki-ā-Kainoho
Room 3, 301 Tuam Street, Christchurch 8011
Ph.(03) 379-2297

info [at] tpa [dot] org [dot] nz (subject: Enquiry%20from%20Website)