Landlord & Tenant Laws Explained by a Wellington Property Manager

Grant Foggo

In New Zealand, landlords and their tenants are governed by The Residential Tenancies Act. It’s important that you understand the requirements set forth in this law, which is always undergoing updates and changes. If you violate a part of this Act, even by accident, you could face expensive penalties and fines. 

When you don’t have time to understand the Residential Tenancies Act, it’s critical to employ the help of a Wellington property manager. As a professional Wellington property manager, we make it a priority to stay up to date on changes to tenancy rules and regulations. You can be sure your property and your financial interests are protected when you work with a professional residential management company. 

Reasonable States of Repair 

Rental properties should be kept in a reasonable state of repair. Both tenants and landlords have responsibilities for keeping the property in good condition. Landlords must meet all legal building, health, and safety requirements. This means keeping the plumbing, electrical wiring and structure of the house safe and in working order. This includes making sure that locks and fastenings work too.

In February 2019 the government announced the new Healthy homes standards to improve the quality of rental housing in New Zealand.

The main subjects of the Healthy home standards are listed below and we will cover these topics in a future blog:

  • Heat
  • Insulation
  • Ventilation
  • Moisture
  • Drainage
  • Draughts

Tenancy Tribunal Relief for Tenants 

If your tenant believes you are not maintaining the home to acceptable habitability standards, they may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for help. They can request that the rent they’ve paid be return to them since the landlord is not maintaining a safe and habitable home. This is a situation you want to avoid, so make sure you’re responsive to your tenants and paying attention to the condition of your property. 

Additional Legal Responsibilities for Landlords

In addition to maintaining a safe and habitable home, landlords must:

  • Provide quiet enjoyment for the tenant – no surprise visits.
  • Inform the tenant if the property is put on the sales market.
  • If an owner is outside of New Zealand for more than 21 days, they must appoint an agent and provide them with the authority to act on their behalf. The agent can be a relative, friend or property manager. The owner must also advise the tenants of their agents contact details.  

Legal Responsibilities for Tenants 

The laws apply to tenants as well. In New Zealand, a tenant must:

  • Pay rent on time in accordance with the lease agreement. 
  • Keep the property clean and in order. 
  • Pay for any damages they cause immediately. 
  • Set up and pay utility accounts. 
  • At the end of the tenancy vacate the property of all their belongings and return all the key to the landlord.

Tenants are not permitted to have roommates who are not on the tenancy agreement. They cannot change the locks without notifying the landlord. 

Tenants are not permitted to have roommates who are not on the tenancy agreement.If you’re struggling to understand your legal responsibilities as a landlord, we are happy to help you ensure you are in compliance with New Zealand’s rental laws. please contact us at Comprende, it all starts with a conversation.