Holler V. Osaki: The Careless Tenant Exonerated
35 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2019
Date Written: July 5, 2017
The author examines the New Zealand Court of Appeal’s reasoning in Holler v Osaki  NZCA 130. The Court held exoneration provisions in the Property Law Act 2007 were general principles of law so could be read into the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 and found no inconsistency between the two statutes. This decision means residential tenants can be exonerated from accidental, careless or negligent damage liability under certain circumstances. The author discusses provisions in the Property Law Act 2007 which are more likely to be general principles of law – instead of exoneration provisions – which the Court failed to consider. Inconsistencies between the Property Law Act 2007 and Residential Tenancies Act 1986 are identified and an in-depth analysis of the legislative background of both statutes is carried out using a purposive approach to interpretation. The author states the Court’s decision could fairly be described as instrumentalist. While policy considerations may support the outcome, the two key legal issues were answered incorrectly by the Court.
Keywords: Holler v Osaki, tenant, exoneration, residential tenancies
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation