Under the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 the Magistrates Court has responsibility to hear disputes and to make orders dealing with all residential tenancy matters. These are dealt with in the Civil Division as a Minor Civil Claim.
This leaflet is intended to assist property owners in their dealings with the Court and sample claims are available to help you provide the information needed by the Court.
Under the Residential Tenancy Act the Court may make orders for:
Residential tenancy agreements (RTA) can only be ended by one of the following:
You may apply for an order for urgent termination of a tenancy agreement (there is no 14 day waiting period) if the tenant has or is likely to cause either or both of the following:
Simply saying that the tenant may injure you or the property is damaged will not be enough to satisfy a Magistrate that the problem is urgent. Your claim should include details of any threats, damage, or physical injury, together with dates they were made or occurred.
(sample Notice to Vacate )
A Notice to Vacate may be served if either of the following occur:
A Notice to Vacate must give 14 clear days' notice. An example of 14 clear days' would be a Notice served on the 1st of the month with advise to the tenant to vacate by the 16th of the month.
If the RTA is not for a fixed period and the premises are to be sold, renovated or used for a different purpose, 28 days clear notice must be given.
To be valid, a Notice to Vacate must also contain:
If the notice is not filled out completely and all the information included then it will be invalid and the tenancy will not be ended.
If the tenant has not vacated the property after getting a notice you can make an application to the Court for vacant possession. To be valid the application must be served on the tenant a reasonable time before the Court hears the Application.
A copy of any written tenancy agreement must be provided to the Court.
The Court may make an order if (and only if):
Property owners and tenants may appeal to a magistrate against a decision by the Residential Tenancy Commissioner about the return of a security deposit. The appeal must be made within 7 days of the Commissioner's decision.
The appeal must be made against the tenant (not the Commissioner). Details of the dispute and the reasons for the appeal must be given. It will be a new hearing which allows you to call witnesses and present any other evidence.
You may apply to a magistrate for an order:
The application for an order must contain:
A tenant may apply to a magistrate for an order that an owner carry out reasonable repairs that do not arise from any fault of the tenant. To dispute the need for these you must apply to the Court within 14 days of receiving the documents from the tenant. You must give detailed reasons why the repairs are not required given your responsibilities under section 32(1) of the Act. You will at least have to prove:
The information provided on this page is for your assistance in dealing with the Court and is not legal advice. A solicitor should be consulted if you need legal advice.