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Know your tenancy rights during COVID-19

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The Citizens Advice Bureau in Tauranga is urging tenants to know their rights during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you’re a tenant and unsure of your rights and entitlements during the Covid-19 pandemic, the CAB can help,” says Kim of Citizens Advice Bureau Tauranga.

She says they have received many enquiries from renters in relation to the COVID-19 alerts, highlighting a range of issues.

“For example, we had tenants who suddenly have no income but still have to pay rent and all of their other expenses.

“We have also heard about flatting situations where it seemed impossible to remove an unwanted flatmate during the lockdown.”

Kim says Government measures to help renters include a rent increase freeze that is in place until late September, and a ban on tenancy terminations (except where the tenant agrees to it) that is in place until late June.

In many cases though, she says it’s up to the tenant and their landlord to discuss the issue in good faith and try to agree on a solution that suits both parties.

This is especially the case if the tenant experiences a significant drop in income or loses a flatmate who previously contributed to the rent.

“It’s useful to know that if your income has reduced, it’s worth checking whether you are eligible for an Accommodation Supplement from Work and Income. We can help you know what your options are for resolving the matter.

“It’s important to know that tenancy law does not cover flatmates whose names are not on the tenancy agreement, private boarders, or tenancies where one of the tenants is a family member of the landlord,” says Kim.

“In these situations, the rights of the parties involved depend on what’s in the flatting or house sharing agreement – and any disputes can be dealt with in the Disputes Tribunal.

“Although you can’t come and see us right now, we are available by phone 07 578 1592 and email tauranga@cab.org.nz

“You can also call our nationwide freephone 0800 367 222 or use online chat.

“We also have great information about tenancy rights on our website, including up to date information about Covid-19 related issues.”

 

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