27 Jan Rental properties Auckland and the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords
Where we live is our home, irrespective of whether we own the property or are merely renting it. Our homes are places where we can relax and enjoy family and friends, and find refuge from the outside world.
So, even if you are renting a property, it is still your home. As a tenant you have many rights that can help you enjoy a great quality of life. However, together with your rights as a tenant there are also certain responsibilities.
Famous American businessman John D Rockefeller’s summing up of the relationship between rights and responsibilities was extremely apt when he said, “Every right implies a responsibility, every opportunity an obligation, every possession a duty”.
What about landlords? Well, without landlords and their ability to invest in properties that others can rent, many people would find it very difficult to find a place to call home. In return for their ability to make rental properties available for others to live in, landlords have a right to expect a fair return on their investment; they also have a right to expect their tenants to look after their property. However, just as is the case with tenants, the rights of landlords also come with certain responsibilities.
Rental properties and the relationship between tenant and landlord
In the residential rental world there are rules that guide the relationship between renter and landlord. These rules are all about ensuring safety, privacy, dignity and quality of life. In New Zealand these rules are outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, covering the specific rights and responsibilities of both tenant and landlord.
Basic responsibilities of tenants
As a tenant you have certain rights and responsibilities. You have the right to live in a property that is safe and in a good state of repair. You have the right to have your bond protected and receive it back at the end of your tenancy (provided you don’t damage the property, pay your rent and meet all the terms of your tenancy agreement). However, with these rights come certain responsibilities – let’s look at 4 basic tenant responsibilities.
1 Be a good tenant and neighbour
While your rental is your home, it’s still someone else’s property – your landlord’s. So, being a good tenant and neighbour means you’ll:
- Pay your rent on time as per your tenancy agreement (even if you’re waiting on repairs or in a dispute with your landlord) – and repair or pay for any damage you or those living with you or visiting you have caused to the property.
- Keep the property clean and tidy.
- Tell your landlord as soon as possible about any repairs that are needed or any damage that has happened.
- Abide by the conditions of your tenancy agreement, including not exceeding the maximum number of occupants as stated in the agreement.
Being a good tenant means you won’t damage or permit damage to the property (or your neighbour’s property), or use the property for an unlawful purpose. You won’t behave in an antisocial way, nor will you allow anyone who lives with you or visits you to behave in an antisocial way. If you are living in a Unit Title property, you will also follow the rules of the relevant body corporate.
2 Ask permission
Although your rental is your home, it’s still your landlord’s property, so you may need to ask their permission if you want to do certain things, for example, if you want to make any improvements to the property, keep a pet or run a business from the property. You will need to check to see what your tenancy agreement says about such things. And your landlord may have the right to refuse permission.
3 Give your landlord access when needed
As a tenant you have a right to your privacy. However, although you have the right to live in your home without unnecessary interference from your landlord, your landlord has the right to access the property to carry our necessary repairs. Your landlord also has the right to inspect the property from time to time (with adequate notification to you of their visit as set out in your tenancy agreement) to make sure you are looking after the property and to check on necessary maintenance and repairs.
4 End your tenancy properly
You must end your tenancy properly. In order words, you can’t simply stop paying the rent and move out. If you don’t end your tenancy in the correct way, you could still be liable for the rent even if you’re no longer living there. You have to give your landlord the correct notice to end your tenancy, as stipulated in your tenancy agreement. And when you finally do move out, it’s your responsibility to leave the property clean and tidy, and with all the chattels intact that came with the tenancy.
Advice for tenants in Auckland and Hamilton rental properties
The above is a basic outline of the rights and responsibilities of tenants. For more details about tenant’s rights and responsibilities, refer to the Residential Tenancies Act or talk with one of the property managers at Fahey Property Management. We are a specialist property management company looking after rental properties in Auckland and Hamilton. Our property managers know the Act and its rules and guidelines like the back of our hand and will be happy to clarify any questions you might have.
Rights and responsibilities of landlords
If you have invested in, or are thinking of investing in a rental property, it’s important that you understand what your rights and responsibilities are as a landlord.
As a landlord you have a right to expect a fair return on your investment as well as the right to expect your tenants to care for your property.
In return for these rights, you also have a number of responsibilities, which are clearly outlined under the very specific rules in the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 – rules with which every landlord needs to comply.
It is the responsibility of landlords to deal with their tenants in a fair manner and to keep their rental properties in a good state of repair.
Therefore, as a good landlord you will:
- Make sure the property is clean, tidy and secure at the start of the tenancy, and maintain the property to a reasonable standard.
- Comply with all building, health and safety standards that apply to the property.
- Sign a tenancy agreement with your tenant and give them a copy of the agreement.
- Lodge your tenant’s security bond with Tenancy Services within the stipulated timeframe for doing so.
- Allow your tenant quiet enjoyment of the premises by respecting their privacy.
- Give the required notice for inspection visits and carry out such visits at the appropriate times.
- Give the required notice for any rent increases and appropriately inform your tenant if you put the property on the market for sale.
Advice for landlords of Auckland and Hamilton rental properties
As in the case of tenant’s rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, there is also a lot more detail in the Act with regards to the rights and responsibilities of landlords. As specialist property managers looking after rental properties throughout greater Auckland and Hamilton, we at Fahey Property Management can help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a landlord. Our property managers have a wealth of rental property management and tenant consultancy experience. So, if you’re a landlord looking for a stress-free property rental experience, then give us a call today.GET IN TOUCH