The Golden Rules

Tenants:

  • Make sure that the premises are suitable. Are they clean? What is the state of repair? Have they been well maintained? Are they safe? Can you afford the rent? Are they too big or too small? Are they close to work, to school, to shops, to public transport, to other facilities? Is the neighbourhood suitable?
  • Decide if you will be a signatory on the tenancy agreement. If you are not on the contract you will not have the same rights and obligations because you will not be covered by the Residential Tenancies Act (1986). For flatmates not on the contract you should sign an agreement together which, in particular, sets out notice periods and a basis for resolving disputes.
  • Select your flatmates with care. It is often more difficult to resolve flatmate disputes than it is to resolve landlord /tenant disputes. The Residential Tenancies Act is only concerned with disputes between landlords and tenants. Disputes between tenants and other tenants may have to be dealt with by the Disputes Tribunal or the District Court.
  • Read the tenancy agreement carefully before signing it. Look out for special conditions. A well drafted agreement with reasonable conditions may be a sign of a good landlord. Be aware that there are standard tenancy agreements that have been drafted on behalf of the Department of Building and Housing and approved by the New Zealand Property Investors and the Office of the Tenancy Tribunal.
  • Know the basic rules of the Residential Tenancies Act. These are set out on the back of the standard Department of Building and Housing tenancy agreement.
  • Do not rely on promises or representations that are not in writing. At a later date, it is possible that both you and your landlord will have different recollections of what was said. The Tribunal is unlikely to accept evidence of anything that does not correspond with the clear words of the written agreement. Make sure that any promises or representations are part of the written agreement.
  • Do not sign a fixed term tenancy agreement unless you are prepared to pay the rent for the full term.
  • If in doubt, seek advice before you sign anything.
  • Before moving in, obtain a property inspection report (condition report) signed by both parties or a video or photos of the premises which clearly show their condition at the commencement of the tenancy. There is a standard form property inspection report attached to the Department of Building and Housing tenancy agreement.
  • Obtain receipts for all cash payments and keep them, even after you have left the premises. Keep your bank statements.
  • Do not commit yourself to paying rent or bond which you cannot afford.
  • Be aware that intrusive or threatening conduct is not acceptable and may amount to "harassment".
  • Give notices of termination of the tenancy to your landlord in writing and keep a copy. This applies to all other notices.
  • Do not delay in the enforcement of your rights.
  • Avoid aggression.
  • Avoid stress.
  • Be reasonable.

Landlords:

  • Make sure that the premises are suitable for letting and are in a clean and tidy condition.
  • Select your tenants with care. Do not discriminate unlawfully.
  • Use an appropriate Department of Building and Housing tenancy agreement. Extra conditions should be easily understood and written into the agreement. They should comply with the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. They should be reasonable.
  • Know the basic rules of the Residential Tenancies Act. These are set out on the back of the standard Department of Building and Housing tenancy agreement.
  • Do not rely on promises or undertakings that are not in writing. Make sure that they are part of the written agreement.
  • Before the tenants move in, obtain a property inspection report (condition report), signed by you and by your tenants or photos or a video of the premises which clearly show their condition at the commencement of the tenancy.
  • Give receipts for all cash payments and bond and keep accurate rent and bond records.
  • Be aware that intrusive or threatening conduct is not acceptable and may be "harassment".
  • Give all notices in writing and keep copies.
  • Attend to repairs and maintenance promptly.
  • Do not delay in enforcement of your rights.
  • Avoid aggression.
  • Avoid stress.
  • Be reasonable.

Contact Details

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

Room 3, 301 Tuam Street, Christchurch 8011


Ph.(03)379-2297