The Residential Tenancies Act (1986)
The Residential Tenancies Act administered by the New Zealand Government’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment outlines the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants who are entering into a tenancy on a property here in New Zealand. The Act also details the conditions whereby you can end a tenancy and the processes to do so.
The best way to prevent problems during your tenancy is by keeping in regular contact with your Property Manager and addressing any issues as soon as they arise. It is also important for you to understand and follow your legal rights and responsibilities as a tenant under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.
The Act states that as a tenant you must:
Pay the rent
It is your legal responsibility to pay your rent on time and as per the timeframes set in your Tenancy Agreement – rent should always be paid before the due date. If you have problems with your rent payments, or are aware of an upcoming issue it is important that you notify your Property Manager immediately. Even if you’re unhappy about something to do with the property, you still have to ensure you are always paying the rent on time – failure to do so does not reflect well upon you in a Tribunal situation and can affect your future in the Tenancy.
Keep the property reasonably clean
As a tenant you are legally required to keep the property in a ‘reasonably clean’ condition. Staying on top of any cleaning and maintenance will ensure a good relationship with your Property Manager and an easier vacating process at the end of your tenancy.
Notify the Property Manager if something needs to be fixed
If something breaks down or goes wrong you need to tell your Property Manager in writing during normal business hours (unless an emergency situation), to create a permanent record of the notification.
Emergency repairs are cases where these repairs, or lack of repair, could cause injury to the tenant or damage to the property. If such situations arise you need to notify your Property Manager immediately (even if this is after hours or on a weekend/public holiday).
Emergency repair examples may include but are not limited to:
- Water pipes have broken or burst
- Blocked or broken toilet (if a second toilet is not available)
- Serious roof leak
- Gas leak
- Dangerous electrical fault (loose power point or live wire etc)
- Flooding / rain water inundation
- Serious storm or impact damage (e.g. car impact into garage)
- Failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply to the premises
- Failure or breakdown of an essential service or appliance required for water or cooking
If you ever require further information around the Residential Tenancies Act (1986) or your responsibilities as a tenant, you should visit The Department of Building and Housing website on www.dbh.govt.nz or you can call Tenancy Services free of charge on 0800 TENANCY (8362629).