Renting FAQS: your questions answered!

Renting for the first time? Heading to university? You might be feeling a bit apprehensive about getting your own place or maybe you’re unsure about the costs and rules involved in a tenancy. We’ve put together a list of our most frequently asked questions from tenants to help you get in the know. Keep reading to see if we answer your question and, if not, get in touch and we’ll get back to you quickly.

What are the costs and fees associated with renting?

The cost of renting through a property management company can be split into three parts:
  1. Bond
A landlord can legally require up to the equivalent of four weeks’ rent. The bond is like the landlord’s insurance against any rent arrears or damages you may cause. If you take good care of your property and pay rent on time, you’ll receive your full bond back at the end of your tenancy.
  1. Rent up front
You’re required to make an advance rental payment: the usual move-in amount is two weeks’ rent.
  1. Letting fee
The letting fee is the fee you pay to cover a property management service and is usually equivalent to one weeks’ rent + GST. This is a non-refundable fee but it is not always required — it depends on each individual property.

What happens to my bond?

Your bond is lodged with the New Zealand Tenancy Services which holds the full amount in trust for the duration of your tenancy. Your property management company reserves the right to make a claim against the bond for any of the following reasons: rent arrears, damages, outstanding accounts, cleaning, lawns and gardens, rubbish removal. If you and the landlord suffer a dispute and cannot agree on the amount being claimed from the bond, either yourself or the landlord may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to resolve the matter.

What’s the difference between a fixed term and periodic tenancy?

Fixed term tenancies have a start date and an end date and cannot be terminated early by either party giving notice, unless both parties agree to terminate sooner or either party can prove hardship to the Tenancy Tribunal. A periodic tenancy can be terminated by either party with notice.

What if I have a periodic tenancy and I need to terminate a lease early or my landlord wants to kick me out?

If you wish to terminate a tenancy, you are required to provide the landlord with at least 21 days’ written notice. If a landlord wishes to terminate the tenancy, they must provide you with at least 90 days’ written notice. In certain special circumstances, they are only required to give 42 days’ written notice.  A landlord can give 42 days’ notice when:
  • The property has been sold with vacant possession, or
  • The owner or a member of the owner’s family is going to live in the property.
If you wish to vacate your rental before either the 42 or 90 day notice period is up, it is important to remember you are still required to provide the landlord with 21 days’ written notice.

Can the rent be increased during a tenancy?

This depends on which type of tenancy you have. If you are in a fixed term tenancy, rent can be increased — but only if it is included as a clause in the tenancy document. In a periodic tenancy, the landlord reserves the right to increase rent during tenancy. If your rent has already been increased, it cannot be increased again within 180 days. It also cannot be increased within 180 days from the start date of your tenancy.

How much notice will I get if my rent is going to be increased?

In both fixed term and periodic tenancies the landlord must provide tenants with at least 60 days’ notice of the rental increase.

Can the landlord sell the property if I have a fixed term tenancy?

Yes, the landlord has the right to list and sell their property regardless of the terms of the tenancy. However, you will be entitled to remain in the property for the duration of your fixed term tenancy. This term may be extended if tenants and the new owner agree.

What are the rules about getting flatmates?

You can have flatmates as long as the number of people in the property does not exceed that stipulated on the Tenancy Agreement. Your property manager will discuss with you the process should one of your flatmates wish to leave before the tenancy is finished.

When can the landlord or property manager enter my rental property? How much notice am I entitled to?

Notice for access varies depending on the reason for entry:
  • If you give your permission, the landlord can enter the property immediately.
  • If we’re carrying out a routine inspection, you’re entitled to 48 hours’ notice.
  • If we’re carrying out necessary repairs or maintenance, you’re entitled to 24 hours’ notice.
  • If we’re showing the property to prospective tenants, purchasers or a registered valuer, we must request your consent (which cannot be unreasonably withheld).

What happens if something in the property needs to be fixed?

It is your responsibility to notify the landlord or property manager as soon as possible of any repairs or maintenance required so they can take the necessary action.   Still got questions? Get in touch with your local office and we’ll help you get to grips with renting for the first time.