Frequently Asked Questions
Here’s a list of helpful Property Management FAQ’s for Landlords and Tenants.
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What types of tenancy agreement are there?
There are two main types of tenancy agreement. These are fixed-term tenancies, periodic tenancies, boarding house tenancies and service tenancies.
- Fixed-term tenancies are for a specific length of time and automatically become periodic tenancies upon expiry of the fixed term. They cannot be ended by notice from either party any earlier than the agreed tenancy end date.
- Periodic tenancies are ongoing tenancies of no fixed length that can be ended by giving notice.
How much notice do I need to give to end a tenancy?
The amount of notice that needs to be given to end a tenancy will depend on the type of tenancy agreement made between the landlord and the tenant and the circumstances at the time.
Fixed-term tenancies are for a specific length of time and cannot be ended by notice during the term of the tenancy. See “Can I end a Fixed Term Early”.
Periodic tenancies can be ended by giving notice. The tenant is required to give 21 days notice. The landlord must give a minimum of 42 days’ written notice if they or a family member wishes to move in or they have sold the property unconditionally. In all other cases the landlord must give the tenant a minimum of 90 days’ notice to terminate a periodic tenancy. No reason needs to be given to the tenant in a 90 days’ written notice to terminate.
Can I end a fixed term early?
Fixed-term tenancies are for a specific length of time and cannot be ended with notice during the term. They can only be ended early by the mutual agreement of all of the parties to the tenancy agreement, or, if agreed to by the landlord, by assigning the tenant’s interest in the tenancy to someone else.
The Tenancy Tribunal may terminate a fixed-term tenancy where there has been a breach of the tenancy agreement or the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 and it would not be equitable to allow the tenancy to continue.
It may also terminate the tenancy where the landlord or tenant has suffered a serious unforeseen change in circumstances which would cause them hardship to continue with the tenancy, and greater hardship than would be caused to the other party to the tenancy by ending the tenancy early. Where the tenancy is ended early, compensation may be awarded to the other party.
Can changes be made to an agreement after it is signed?
Any amendments or variations to tenancy agreements after the tenancy has commenced must be made and agreed to in writing by all parties to the tenancy agreement.
Can a landlord sell a property if there is a Fixed Term Tenancy in place?
Yes, the landlord has the right to list the property for sale regardless of the term of the tenancy. However the tenant will be entitled to remain in the property for the duration of the fixed term. This term may be extended if the property sells and a new landlord agrees.
Who pays for water?
The tenant is responsible for outgoings that are exclusively attributable to that tenant’s occupation of the premises so if the water is separately metered and can be measured the tenant is responsible. The landlord is responsible for the fixed line charge portion of the water bill.
Tenants and Flatmates
A flatmate is not legally responsible for the tenancy. The only persons who are liable are those who are specifically named and have signed the Tenancy Agreement. It is common practice for more than one person living in a property to sign the Tenancy Agreement. This makes them all jointly and severally liable for meeting the terms of the agreement.
The Locals’ Tenancy Agreements do not permit subleasing or assigning of a tenancy.
What if some tenants move out during the tenancy?
If any one of those named on the Tenancy Agreement move out of the property this effectively brings the tenancy to an end unless some agreement has already been reached with us. If you wish to continue with the tenancy contact us to discuss what options are available.
One of our flatmates has left. Can I change the locks?
Not without our consent. If it is agreed to then you are obliged to provide The Locals Limited with a set of the new keys.
How does rent in advance work?
The landlord can ask for up to a maximum of 2 weeks’ rent in advance. If a landlord asks a tenant to pay 2 weeks’ rent in advance, they are asking for rent to be paid fortnightly and at the beginning of each fortnightly period that the rent should cover. If the landlord asks the tenant to pay 1 week’s rent in advance, the tenant must pay the rent weekly and at the beginning of each weekly period that the rent should cover.
A landlord cannot ask the tenant to pay any more rent before they have used up all of the rent that they have paid to the landlord, nor can they hold rent from the start of the tenancy to be used at the end of the tenancy.
For periodic tenancies the landlord must give the tenant at least 60 days’ written notice to increase the rent, in addition to a period allowed to correctly serve the notice. There is no limit to how much a landlord may increase the rent, as long as the rent is not increased excessively above market rate.
Rent can only be increased for fixed-term tenancies where provision for this is written into the tenancy agreement.
Rent cannot be increased within 180 days of the beginning of the tenancy, nor within 180 days of the last rent increase.
We take rent arrears very seriously and have a zero tolerance for rent arrears. The following is our arrears management procedure and tenants are required to acknowledge and sign this policy as part of their tenancy agreement:
1 to 4 days arrears: Reminder Phone Call / Email every day
5 days in arrears: 14 Day Notice sent to tenant and landlord is notified
15 days in arrears: Application lodged with Tenancy Tribunal
How much bond is required
The legal maximum allowed to be held for bond is the equivalent of four weeks of rent. The Locals generally request three weeks bond.
What happens to the bond?
The bond is lodged with the Bond Centre who holds it in trust. We may make a claim against the bond for any of the following reasons - rent arrears, damages, outstanding water accounts, cleaning, lawns and gardens, rubbish removal. If the amount being claimed cannot be agreed on, either of you may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to resolve the matter.
How do I get my bond money back?
When a tenancy has ended, all rent and outgoings are finalised and a vacate inspection is carried by your property manager. Any amounts owing are noted and agreed and the bond form is signed by both tenant and landlord and sent to the Department of Building and Housing who will refund the bond.
Can I transfer a bond?
At The Locals we may allow the transfer of a portion of bond in some circumstances if the landlord is in agreement, but we will not accept a full transfer.
Who is responsible for maintaining the grounds?
This will be stated in the tenancy agreement. If the tenant is responsible then they are required to keep the property reasonably clean and tidy. This includes weeding and mowing lawns where the landlord has not accepted responsibility for this under the tenancy agreement.
Responsibility for the pruning and maintenance of trees, shrubs and hedges and the removal of any debris created in doing this is usually interpreted as the landlord’s responsibility. This is because the tenant is responsible for any damage they intentionally or carelessly cause to the landlord’s property, including facilities. Where a tenant does cause damage to or kills a tree, shrub or hedge, they may be liable for its replacement, or to compensate the landlord for the damage or loss.
Some trees and shrubs may require special care, skill or knowledge to be able to properly maintain them, which a tenant may not have. Other trees or shrubs may be protected species, or specimens of local or historical interest that cannot be removed.
What do I do if something needs repairing in the property?
For non-urgent maintenance go to www.thelocals.co.nz to submit a Repairs Request. For emergency maintenance during our office hours of Monday to Friday: 8.30 - 5.30 call your Property Manager directly or the office on 09 815 9008. After hours call the Duty Manager on 021 02352093.
Who is responsible for the cost of repairs and maintenance?
The tenant is not responsible for repairs or damage arising from fair wear and tear, burglaries, accident or acts of God. However, tenants may be liable for repairs if they know about the need for them, they failed to advise the landlord, and the damage to the property became worse as a result.
Where the tenant intentionally or carelessly causes damage to the property or allows others that they have invited onto the property to damage it, the tenant would be liable to repair the damage or to compensate the landlord for it.
Does the landlord have to recompense a tenant for repairs they have carried out themselves?
It is not advisable for a tenant to carry out repairs themselves without prior permission from the property manager or landlord. The tenant must have made a reasonable attempt to contact the landlord about the need for the repairs before carrying them out.
The landlord must compensate the tenant for any reasonable expense incurred by the tenant in repairing the property where the need for repair did not result from a breach by the tenant and is likely to cause injury to people or property, or is otherwise serious and urgent.
What happens if a flatmate causes damage?
All tenants named on a tenancy agreement are jointly and severally liable for the tenancy agreement. This means, if any damage, rent arrears, cleaning or other debt arising from the tenancy is caused by one tenant, that tenant and all of the other tenants who are name on the tenancy agreement can be held accountable. The landlord could recover compensation for any money owed to them by that tenant or from all or any of the other tenants.
When can the landlord or their representative at The Locals enter the property and how much notice is required:
Notice for access varies as follows:
If you agree, the property manager can enter the property immediately
For the purpose of carrying out a routine inspection 48 hours notice is required
For the purpose of carrying out necessary repairs or maintenance 24 hours is required
For the purpose of showing the property to prospective tenants, purchasers or a registered valuer by consent (which cannot be unreasonably withheld)
How often do you inspect the property?
By law there is no limit on how many times we can inspect a property, however we usually carry out inspections every quarter (4 x per year). We are required to give you 48hrs notice of any inspections. Inspections will only be carried out between 9am and 5pm unless arranged with the tenant.
Quiet enjoyment: what does it mean?
The landlord may not unreasonably interfere with the tenant’s peace, comfort or privacy in use of the tenancy.
The tenant may not unreasonably interfere with the peace, comfort and privacy of their neighbours or their landlord’s other tenants.
Where either the landlord or tenant is in breach of their obligations surrounding quiet enjoyment, they can be issued with a notice to remedy. Where this is not complied with, or the breach is so serious that it would be unfair for the tenancy to continue, an application may be made to the Tenancy Tribunal to end the tenancy and compensation may also be sought against the party who committed the breach.