Tenancy Agreements

Information that is required to be in your tenancy agreement:

  • the full name and contact address of both the landlord and the tenant.
  • the address of the premises
  • the date the tenancy agreement is signed
  • the date the tenancy begins
  • the landlords address for service.
  • if the tenant is under the age of 18 years old
  • the amount of rent and bond to be paid
  • how often the rent is to be paid
  • where the rent is to be paid
  • if a letting fee applies
  • if the tenant is to pay for metered water
  • if it is a fixed term, the day it expires
  • a list of any chattels (furniture or appliances provided with the tenancy)

 

There are often extra conditions added to the agreement (see special conditions).

A lot of the conditions within a tenancy contract are re-wording or re-stating the tenant rights and obligations as already written in the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.

A tenant is entitled to have time to read the contract and have it explained, including any extra conditions or attachments.

Just because a contract looks official and professional does not mean that all the conditions in it are legally binding. If in doubt about anything in the contract, seek advice.

A landlord can chose to waive / give away their rights but cannot make a tenant waive theirs.

Anything in the contract that is against the rules / in breach of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 is not binding, even if the contract is signed.

The Department of Building and Housing produce a very good ‘Residential Tenancy Agreement’, which has been approved by The Office of the Tenancy Tribunal. This contract includes advice on how to complete it, a Property Inspection Report, a brief summary of the Residential Tenancies Act, and of course the Tenancy Agreement itself. It also has a carbon copy backing so both the tenant and the landlord can have an exact copy.

 

Common mistakes

Not recording clearly if the contract is periodic or fixed term.
If a contract is for a fixed term, cross out the word ‘periodic’ and the section that says the tenant can give 21 days notice to vacate.
The tenant not receiving a copy of the tenancy agreement or of any extra pages attached to it.
A tenant is entitled to have a copy of everything they sign.
The tenant agreeing to a fixed term contract thinking that it will be easy to get out of it or to find a replacement tenant.
If there is a strong possibility that circumstances might change during a fixed term, do not sign one, even if it means missing out on that tenancy.
Not recording enough contact details for the landlord.
Have a full name and physical contact address for the landlord.

Contact Details

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

3/575 Colombo Street, Christchurch 8011

Ph.(03)379-2297