Date: 13 Jan 2019
What to do when a tenancy ends
Source: Tenancy Services
When a tenancy’s coming to an end, both landlords and tenants can help things go smoothly before and on the final day of the tenancy.
Showing potential tenants through the property
Often when a tenancy ends, the property will be rented again to new tenants. If the landlord wants to show potential tenants through, they must get the current tenant’s permission.
The tenant can’t unreasonably refuse this, but they can set reasonable conditions. For example, they may limit access to certain times of day or days of the week. They still have the right to the quiet enjoyment of their home.
Conducting the final property inspection
Landlords and tenants should arrange a time to do the final property inspection together. Most landlords will want to do a final inspection before they agree to refund the bond.
If possible, the final inspection should happen once the tenant’s moved all their belongings out and finished cleaning the property. If you can’t do the inspection together, you should each do your own. It’s a good idea to take photos.
Getting the bond refunded
The landlord should bring a bond refund form to the final inspection. The tenant can also bring one in case the landlord forgets.
Only sign the bond refund form if you agree with what’s written on it. A landlord shouldn’t ask a tenant to sign a blank form, and a tenant should never sign a blank form.
What landlords should do
- Tenancy days start and end at midnight. Don’t demand tenants to leave before midnight on the last day of a tenancy. Try to negotiate a time that works for both of you.
- Do a property inspection a few weeks before the final day of the tenancy. Then you can ask the tenant to sort out anything they need to before they leave.
- Let the tenant know (in writing) how much rent they still need to pay and what their responsibilities are at the end of the tenancy.
- Let them know there will be a final property inspection before the bond is refunded.
- Take copies of tenancy documents with you to the final inspection in case they’re needed. This includes:
- the tenancy agreement
- the initial property inspection report
- the rent summary.
- If the tenant leaves any items behind, photograph it and make a detailed list. Follow the correct procedure for dealing with abandoned goods.
- Allow time between tenancies for carrying out maintenance and any extra cleaning you may want to do.
What tenants should do
Keep all of your tenancy documents in a safe place. Having your tenancy agreement, property inspection reports, rent records and letters to or from the landlord handy may help if there’s a dispute at the end.
Pay everything you need to, and cancel any services
- Continue to pay the rent up to (and including) the final day of the tenancy.
- If you pay for water, record the water meter reading on the final day of the tenancy. Do this after you’ve moved everything out and have finished cleaning.
- Cancel any services you have connected to the property (eg, electricity, gas and internet).
Leave the place tidy, and take only what’s yours
- Remove all your belongings.
- Make sure you leave the property reasonably clean and tidy (inside and outside), and take away all your rubbish.
- Leave behind anything the landlord provided for you to use during the tenancy, such as furniture and appliances.
- Return all the keys to the landlord.
Leave your details with the landlord
- Give your forwarding address to the landlord, and to Tenancy Services. This means mail can be forwarded to you and you can be contacted about your bond.
- Ask the landlord if they’re willing to give you a reference.
Date: 19 Nov 2018
Five landlord tips for rentals
There are more than 550,000 rental properties scattered throughout New Zealand, so it makes sense that as the market grows landlords better understand their rights and responsibilities. With this in mind, we put together a few tips to help make the property investment journey a smoother one.
Meeting landlord obligations help to protect your investment. Start by exercising reasonable care when choosing tenants, and obtaining satisfactory references.
- Next, collect up to two weeks’ rent in advance, and register up to four weeks’ rent as bond with the Tenancy Services. Landlord is responsible to monitor and manage rent in arrears, and conduct regular internal and external property inspections with a written record of the outcome. Inspections are a good way to keep on top of any issues, necessary repairs, or potential problems.
- Keeping your rental home in good repair, ensure they are secure and take all reasonable precautions to prevent loss occurring. This means conducting any necessary repairs in a timely fashion, providing and maintaining locks and other security mechanisms, as well as maintaining smoke alarms. Not sure where to place the smoke alarms? Then check out the Fire Service website at fire.org.nz.
From 1 July 2016 landlords also need to have working smoke alarms installed in all residential rental homes.
They’ll also be required to have insulation to keep the home warm in winter and cool in summer (private rentals by 1 July 2019). more information about this on the Tenancy Services website.
- If you’re about to purchase a rental, then do your due diligence and ask the owner or the agent if the property has been tested for drug contamination, and ask to see the results. If no test has been carried out, get one done yourself. If you already own a rental then consider including this type of test in your property inspections. There’s more information about this on the Tenancy Services website.
- If you need to make a claim, don’t delay. Don’t mistakenly store up incidents to make a single claim once the tenants move out because, unless all the damage has occurred during the same event, you’ll need to make separate claims for each event causing damage, with one excess applying per event.
- Make sure you have the right insurance for your circumstances. Loss of rent and natural disasters are generally available under standard cover, but check with your insurer for optional benefits like tenants who vacate without notice, are evicted, cause intentional or malicious damage, or who use, consume, store or manufacture illegal drugs.
- Finally, if you think all of the above is just too much, find a reliable, honest and efficient property manager today and leave the day to day management to them. Some of the property management companies are doing free appraisal for your rental, check out Connect property free appraisal form as reference.
Date: 20 Sept 2018
What is landlord's legal obligations to tenants while out of the country.
The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) Section 16 (A) outlines what landlords need to do when they go on holiday.
Going overseas for more than 21 days
As a landlord, if you will be going out of New Zealand for more than 21 consecutive days, you must appoint an agent to manage your rental property during the time you are away.
Landlords may appoint anyone as their agent, however the agent should be someone who is fully aware of (and able to fulfill) the legal requirements, obligations and responsibilities of managing a rental property.
You will need to let your tenants know who the agent is, and how they can contact the agent (via a contact number and a physical address for service).
It is important to note that failure to appoint an agent and follow the procedure is an unlawful act under the Residential Tenancy Act, and landlords can be liable for exemplary damages of up to $1000.
If you have a property manager, all you will need to do is let them know that you will be away. You won’t need to do any of the above as your property manager is already appointed as your agent.
Going overseas for less than 21 days
Even if you are away for less than 21 days, it is still a good idea to have someone as a point of contact for your tenants. This means you will be able to relax, know that your rental property is taken care of, and enjoy your time overseas.