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Kelly Hannifin vacated a central Christchurch flat at the end of April, after living there for more than two years.
Her landlord, Whittle Knight and Boatwood Estate Agents, withheld the whole $840 bond from her and wanted to deduct a $90 fee for carpet cleaning.
Hannifin wanted them to release the remainder of the bond, minus the $90 fee, as she needed the money. The landlords, Hannifin said, refused and argued the carpet was not as clean as when her tenancy started.
The matter went to the Tenancy Tribunal and the tribunal sided with the tenant.
"The landlord has not satisfied me that the tenant failed to leave the lounge carpet reasonably clean. She was not required to leave the carpet in a state where the premises could be immediately rented again. Landlords must expect to have to do some cleaning between tenancies," the Tenancy Tribunal judgment said.
The tenant said she didn't realise she did not have to pay for the carpet cleaning and it wasn't until she rang Tenancy Services over the bond dispute that she was told the only requirement was that she had to leave the place reasonably clean and tidy.
"I'm a clean and tidy person, every three-monthly inspection has been very good or excellent," she told Stuff. "I paid them $30,000 of my own money in rent and they wouldn't release my $750."
The landlord has been ordered to repay the bond plus a filing fee.