New guide for first-time renters

Photo: File/SunLive.

The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand has today announced the launch of a new guide for first-time renters to try and help reduce the number of cases that end up in the Tenancy Tribunal for issues that could be resolved earlier.

Chief Executive at REINZ Bindi Norwell says renting can be a confusing and daunting process.

"This guide is written in plain English to help try and outline some of the key questions people have before they sign an agreement, during their tenancy and when they want to leave their rental property.

“For example, one of the biggest areas of confusion is around cleaning when you leave your rental property. The rules are very clear – the property does not need to be professionally cleaned but needs to be left in a reasonably clean condition.

"But time and time again, there are disputes around cleaning. This means paying attention to areas such as the kitchens, oven, bathrooms, skirtings/windowsills and if the lawns/grounds are part of your responsibility, these should be mowed and tidy,” she says. 

The guide covers key areas such as the level of bond a landlord or property manager can ask for, the Healthy Homes Standards, insurance, notice to inspect and how many weeks rent can be asked for in advance.

It also covers issues such as concerns around maintenance and repairs and retaliatory notices.

“One thing we hear time and time again is that tenants don’t report issues with the property to their landlord or property manager in a timely manner.

"The guide points out that tenants have a legal responsibility to report any repairs or maintenance required to the property to the landlord or property manager in order to prevent further damage.

“The guide also makes it extremely clear that the landlord or property manager has a responsibility to present the home in a reasonable condition and to fix the issues in a timely manner and that they can’t give you notice to vacate a property in relation to raising a maintenance issue,” she says. 

“With so many changes to legislation relating to rental properties over the last few years it’s essential that tenants understand their rights and know what their landlord or property manager should or shouldn’t be doing." 

The guide will also be useful for parents who are supporting their children as they move out of home and go renting for the first time.

The guide is available to download free of charge here.

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