The bottom line for renting is simple. Get an agreement in writing with your landlord so nothing’s in doubt, keep receipts of payments and know your rights. For more information click here or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 83 62 62).
Who is a tenant?
If you have an agreement with the landlord (verbal or written) to live in the property, you’re a tenant.
What kind of tenancy can I have?
A fixed term tenancy is for an agreed upon timeframe that you’ll live in the property. This is usually 6, 12 or 18 months. If you chose to move out before the time is up you may have to pay for part or all of the time remaining on the contract term. A periodic tenancy means you can live in the property until you or the landlord gives notice to move out. For boarding house tenancies please see below.
First things first
Before becoming a tenant you should get a written tenancy agreement. You should inspect the property and complete a Property Condition Report (where you and the landlord agree on the condition of the house before you move in) before signing anything. Make sure you keep copies of all records relating to your tenancy.
Always pay your rent on time and make sure you get a receipt for any rent or bond you pay in cash.
Changing the price of rent
A landlord must give a written warning of a rent rate increase 60 days before the increase takes place. Your landlord can increase the price of rent once every 180 days (about every six months).
If you have a fixed-term tenancy (you have a start date and end date to your tenancy), the landlord cannot increase rent rates unless stated on the tenancy agreement.
If you can’t pay the rent
If your rent is overdue just one day, the landlord can give you a notice saying you have 14 days to remedy the situation – basically, by paying the rent that you owe. If you haven’t paid your rent within the notice period or 21 days after the rent was due, the landlord can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to order you to pay.
How much rent in advance can a landlord ask for?
A landlord can ask you for up to two weeks in advance which counts as your first rent payment. The landlord cannot ask for any more rent until that rent payment has been used up.
Should you get a receipt for rent payments?
If you pay in cash you should always get a receipt. If you ask in writing for a statement of your rent payments the landlord is required to provide you with it.
What must a landlord do?
Make sure the property is clean and tidy before you start the tenancy.
Maintain the property and do any necessary repairs.
Write and tell you at least 60 days before they put the rent up.
Give you lawful notice before they enter the house.
Can I be asked to leave by a flatmate or other tenant?
No. Only the landlord can give you notice to leave.
Am I responsible for damage or unpaid rent another tenant causes?
If one of the tenants causes damage to the property or gets behind in paying rent, all of the tenants can be held responsible to pay the debt if the responsible person does not.
Who is a flatmate?
A flatmate is someone living in the property who is not a part of the tenancy agreement with the landlord.
What rights do flatmates have?
Flatmates are not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act, which only covers tenants and landlords. As a flatmate your rights depend on the agreement you have with the tenant.
Boarding house tenancy
To protect your rights as a boarder you should always get a written tenancy agreement. Bear this in mind if you’re considering a move to a boarding house:
- A boarding house tenancy must last, or be intended to last for, at least 28 days.
- You have the exclusive right to occupy your room.
- You have the right to use all shared facilities.
If you want to move out, you need to give at least 48 hours’ notice but most landlords will require more notice than that (28 days is standard). Be sure read your tenancy agreement so you know what to expect.
A property inspection helps the landlord to check if you are looking after the property well and helps you get things fixed around the property. A landlord has to give 48 hours’ notice before carrying out a property inspection. An inspection can occur once every four weeks at the most. They must also give 24 hours’ notice before doing any repairs or maintenance.
You should not pay fees for the following:
Cleaning fees not stated in the tenancy agreement
House insurance (not to be confused with contents insurance for your personal belongings)
Fixed water rates
Draft Legal Letters
Auckland Community Law Centre has developed a range of draft letters to help you enforce your legal rights as a consumer, employee, tenant and more.