Friday, April 26, 2013

Landlord responsibilities and rights

What can you and can’t you do? Here are the facts from Residential Tenancies...

The rights of landlords are laid out in the lease agreements signed by both parties at the start of the tenancy, the information brochure provided with the lease agreement and the Residential Tenancies Act 1995. Extra conditions can be added to a lease agreement provided that they don’t contradict the Residential Tenancies Act 1995.

Basic landlord responsibilities include:
  • providing the property in a clean and reasonable state at the start of the tenancy
  • maintaining the property to a reasonable standard and organising repairs
  • giving proper receipts and maintaining records of any money received from the tenant
  • allowing the tenant reasonable peace, comfort and privacy in the property for the duration of the tenancy
  • paying council rates and taxes
  • providing and maintaining locks to ensure the property is reasonably secure
  • providing a copy of the lease, the information brochure, and two completed inspection sheets at the beginning of the tenancy
    lodging bond money with
    Consumer and Business Services (CBS).
If a landlord doesn’t meet their responsibilities the tenant can end the tenancy by giving their landlord written notice to rectify the breach. If the breach is not remedied by the specified time (usually at least seven days) the tenancy will end. If this occurs the tenant must move out by the specified date and it is recommended that this is taken into consideration before this notice is given to a landlord.

If the breach is serious the tenant can apply to the 
Residential Tenancies Tribunal to end the tenancy and to ask for compensation - eg for removalist costs.

Reasonable notice
It is a condition of the lease agreement that a landlord is entitled to show the property on a reasonable number of occasions at a reasonable time and after having given the tenant reasonable notice to:
  • prospective buyers if they are selling the property
  • prospective tenants only in the last 28 days of the current lease agreement.
It is generally accepted that it is reasonable to:
  • have one open inspection per fortnight after giving the tenant at least four days notice
  • have two inspections per week by appointment only after giving the tenant at least 24 hours notice.

The landlord’s right of access to a tenanted property
Tenants are legally allowed to live in peace, comfort and privacy in a private rental property. This means that landlords have limited rights as to when they can enter a tenanted property. This includes any gardens, shed or yard included in the lease agreement.

Usually, written 
notice to enter the premises Description: Open in new window (PDF 216KB) must be given in advance. A landlord found to be breaching these conditions may be fined. For an alternative version of this document contact CBS tenancies branch.

The landlord has right of entry to rented property only:
  • in the case of an emergency - no written notice is required
  • to inspect the property - this can’t be done more than once every four weeks and only after 7-14 days’ written notice has been given to the tenant
  • to collect rent only if the tenant has agreed for the collection of rent at the property, and no more than once a week
  • to carry out necessary repairs - 48 hours’ written notice must be given and the work must be carried out at a reasonable time
  • to show the property to prospective tenants - this can only happen within the last 28 days of a tenancy and must be at a reasonable time
  • to show the property to prospective buyers - reasonable notice must be given to the tenant and should only happen on a reasonable number of occasions and at a reasonable time
  • at any time provided the tenant’s consent was given immediately before entry.
If the tenant does not allow entry after they have been given the proper notice it is a breach of their lease agreement and the landlord can make an application to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal Description: Open in new window (PDF 44KB) to enter the property.  For an alternative version of this document contact CBS tenancies branch

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