F.A.Q

Frequently Asked Questions

How much notice do I have to give the landlord when I want to leave?
It depends on the type of contract you have. In a periodic tenancy the tenant must give minimum of 21 days notice to leave in writing. In a fixed term tenancy you and the landlord must have recorded in writing if you are going to renew the contract or not, at least 21 days before the contract is due to expire. 
How can I get out of a fixed term lease?
It's not easy! You tenancy agreement is a contract and you need the permission of the landlord or an Order of the Tenancy Tribunal to end the contract before it is due to expire. First tell the landlord you want to move - they might agree to help you find new tenants. Before you look for new tenants check if the landlord expects any fees or compensation for advertising. Record any agreement or new end date in writing. In some situations the Tenancy Tribunal will agree to terminate the contract if there is an unforeseen change in your circumstances and you would suffer more hardship staying in the tenancy than the landlord would suffer if you leave. If you want to move because you are unhappy with the tenancy, seek tenancy advice about the formal process you will need to take.
How can I get my landlord to make repairs?
Inform the landlord of the problem. If they haven’t done anything to fix the problem after a reasonable amount of time send the landlord a 14 consecutive day notice to remedy. If the problem is urgent and likely to cause injury to people or property and the landlord isn't available or willing to fix it then you may get the repair done yourself and seek reimbursement from the landlord.
Can the landlord kick me out?
No. A landlord can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a termination of the tenancy if:
- the tenant is 21 days behind in paying the rent;
- the tenant fails to take steps to remedy a 14 consecutive working day notice to remedy and the matter is a serious breach of the Residential Tenancies Act;
-the tenant has caused substantial damage;
-the tenant has assualted or threatened to assualt the landlord , their family, agent, or neighbours of the tenant.
How much rent in advance can the landlord ask for?
No more than two weeks rent in advance.
Does the landlord have to give notice to come around?
A landlord does not need to give notice to knock on the door, but if they want to come into the house or garage they must give notice or have your permission:
- 48 hours notice for inspection of the property between 8am and 7pm, not more than once every four weeks;
- 24 hours notice for repairs or maintenance and/or to check compliance of smoke alarms;
- with the tenant's consent(which cannot be unreasonably withheld) to show prospective tenants or buyers.
How much notice does the landlord have to give to end a tenancy?
In a fixed term tenancy the landlord cannot give notice to move out, and if the property is sold the new owner must honour the existing fixed term.
In a periodic tenancy the landlord must give 90 days written notice. They can give 42 days written notice if:
- the property is sold with vacant possession;
- the property is needed for occupation by the landlord or their family (note, a family trust is a company and not a person and therefore cannot have a family member);
-the property is needed for an employee of the landlord and this has been agreed to at the beginning of the tenancy.
Can a real estate agent show prospective buyers through the property any time they want?
No. Access is by arrangement with the tenant, but the tenant cannot unreasonably withhold consent. It is important that if you do not want ‘open homes’ then you tell your landlord as soon as you find out that the owner is intending to sell, and make sure you provide access by appointment instead.
How do I get my bond back?
The Bond Centre refunds the bond when they receive a signed and completed bond refund form. This form records how much money is refunded to the tenant and how much is released to the landlord. If there is any rent owing at the end of the tenancy, or there is damage to the property, this comes out of the bond. If the tenant and the landlord cannot agree on the amount to be taken out of the bond then the landlord or tenant and apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to make an Order saying how much is refunded and to who. See our page on Bonds for more information.
My previous flatmate owes me money and they are refusing to pay, how can I get it back?
The Tenancy Tribunal does not have any jurisdiction to deal with flatmate or co-tenant disputes. The Disputes Tribunal can make Orders against people who owe you money, but the process can take up to a few months. Applications cost $50 (if your claim is under $1000) and you will need to prove how much is owed and show what other steps you have taken to recover the money.

Contact Details

Tenants Protection Association (ChCh) Inc
Te Tōpū Tiaki-ā-Kainoho
 

Room 3, 301 Tuam Street, Christchurch 8011


Ph.(03)379-2297