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A guide to NZ landlord and tenant responsibilities

Sean Wang - Thursday, March 01, 2012

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Before you enter into a Tenancy Agreement, irrespective of whether you’re the one renting out a property, or the one moving in, it’s important that you have a basic understanding of your responsibilities as a landlord or tenant.

From a legal perspective, landlords have a number of responsibilities and obligations. These include:

  • Signing a Tenancy Agreement with their tenant and giving the tenant a copy before the tenancy starts.
  • Sending any bond money paid by the tenant to the Tenancy Services Centre, within 23 working days of receiving it.
  • Making sure the property is clean and in a fit and habitable condition at the beginning of the tenancy.
  • Maintaining the property in a reasonable state of repair during the tenancy.
  • Doing any necessary repairs and giving the tenant 24 hours' written notice of entry to repair.
  • Paying the tenant back for any urgent repair work the tenant had to have done (as long as the tenant made reasonable attempts to notify the landlord before having the work done).
  • Paying all outgoings (i.e. rates, insurance premiums for insuring the premises, land tax, etc).
  • Making sure the locks and fastenings are adequate.
  • Giving the tenant rent receipts, if rent is paid in cash or by open cheque.
  • Giving the tenant a written statement saying what period rent paid relates to, if asked.
  • Giving the tenant at least 60 days’ written notice of a rent increase.
  • Giving the tenant 48 hours' written notice of an inspection.
  • Taking reasonable steps to ensure that tenants aren't disturbed by the landlord's other tenants.
  • Telling the tenant in writing if they intend selling the property.
  • Resolving disputes with tenants quickly and fairly.

Tenants, on the other hand, have their responsibilities and obligations also, such as:

  • Paying the rent on time.
  • Paying all charges for electricity, gas (supplied to the property), metered water (if provided for in the Tenancy Agreement) and telephone.
  • Keeping the property reasonably clean and tidy.
  • Telling the landlord as soon as possible of any damage or repairs needed.
  • Repairing or paying for repair of any damage caused intentionally or carelessly by the tenant or the tenant's guests.
  • Making sure that any limit set (in the Tenancy Agreement) on the number of people allowed to stay in the property at any one time is adhered to (does not apply to short term stays by relatives or friends).
  • Making sure the property is used mainly for residential purposes.
  • Allowing the landlord reasonable access to show prospective tenants, buyers or valuers through the property.
  • Leaving at the end of the tenancy, removing all goods and rubbish, leaving the property reasonably clean and tidy, returning all keys, pass cards or other such devices, and leaving all other chattels provided by the landlord at the property.

Whether you’re the landlord or tenant of a residential rental property, it’s important that you are also aware of the Tenancy Tribunal which is a court, part of the Ministry of Justice, that has been set up to deal with unresolved problems between landlords and tenants.