RTA rental deposit probe done
AN INVESTIGATION has found LJ Hooker Gladstone currently has processes that are "compliant" with the law about accepting holding deposits.
However, the investigation was unable to confirm whether the real estate agent's processes were compliant at the time complaints were made in June.
The Residential Tenancies Authority launched an investigation after concerns were referred to them about LJ Hooker Gladstone's practice of accepting deposits with rental applications.
The RTA recently wrote to The Observer, saying it had completed its investigation.
"I am satisfied that LJ Hooker Gladstone is aware of their obligations regarding holding deposits, and that the processes they have in place are compliant with the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2009," RTA senior investigations officer Lyn Neale said.
The RTA refused to clarify whether its statement meant LJ Hooker Gladstone's processes had been compliant at the time the concerns were raised.
The RTA advised its investigations always focused on ensuring "ongoing compliance" but in this case "there was insufficient evidence to warrant prosecution for offences against (the Act)".
In May, witnesses said they were not presented a copy of the tenancy agreement when LJ Hooker Gladstone told them they needed to hand in a deposit with their rental application.
That is a key requirement of the holding deposit process.
The RTA has said it cannot comment about specific aspects of an investigation.
LJ Hooker Gladstone yesterday said its procedures with holding deposits were compliant with all requirements and no offences were identified in the RTA investigation.
Submitting a deposit for a rental property
If a landlord or agent takes a holding deposit from a prospective tenant there are certain rules they must follow, including:
They must provide the prospective tenant with a copy of the tenancy agreement
They can only take one holding deposit at a time for a property
After taking a holding deposit from a tenant they must do everything reasonably possible to ensure the tenancy comes into effect
The holding deposit must be put towards the bond if the tenant goes ahead with the tenancy agreement