Looking to rent

Who pays for the council rates and utilities (water, gas,... The landlord will ultimately be responsible for the payment of any charges that are incurred on their property, regar...
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Looking to rent?

The following advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broad guide. The advice should not be regarded as legal, financial or real estate advice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal, financial or real estate decisions. Click here for full Terms of Use.

​Where can I get help?

At First National Real Estate, we're here to help you. Contact a First National Real Estate agent prior to moving into their area, and get chatting. They are well placed to give you general information and advice about your upcoming move.   They can also add you to our database of potential property buyers or renters, and can send you updates when properties that suit your needs and preferences become available.

I’m looking to rent a bach at the beach or an alpine holiday home. What should I consider?

Holiday homes near the beach are in high demand during the summer in New Zealand, while alpine (ski) holiday homes will be popular during the winter and ski seasons. Here are some simple tips if you’re planning to rent a New Zealand bach during these peak seasons:
  • Availability will be much more limited during peak seasons, so plan ahead and book well in advance to make sure you secure your holiday home for the specific period you want.
  • Ask the owner or agent how far the bach or holiday home actually is from the sand and sea, or how difficult it is to get to the nearest ski field. Families with young children often prefer holiday homes right on the beach to avoid car rides or long walks.
  • Check whether your beach holiday home has outside lighting, a BBQ and outdoor furniture for dining - to maximise your enjoyment.
  • If booking an alpine holiday home, ask what kind of heating it has (gas or electric), and whether the power or gas required to run the heating is included in the hiring rental or not.

What else does the Tenancy Tribunal do?

The Tenancy Tribunal can help with any disagreements between landlords and tenants, or general Tenancy Agreement breaches.  Commonly raised issues are Tenancy Bond repayment disputes, overdue rent payments, and property damage.

Who pays for the council rates and utilities (water, gas, electricity)?

The landlord will ultimately be responsible for the payment of any charges that are incurred on their property, regardless of whether the property is occupied or not.  These charges include property rates and council fee or fixed waste water charges.

The tenant is usually responsible for the payment of any charges that are incurred by their usage, such as electricity, gas, telephone and water usage charges (when the water supply to a property is metered and usage is recorded).

Terms surrounding the payment of these utilities must be mentioned in your Tenancy Agreement, if you are to pay these charges.

Do I need insurance while living in a rental property?

While the landlord is responsible for any insurance related to the rental property itself, this insurance will not normally cover your personal possessions. It is therefore highly advisable for you to take out your own contents insurance to cover theft or accidental damage. 

Can the landlord or property manager enter the property while I’m renting it?

New Zealand landlords (or property managers acting on their behalf) have the right to regularly inspect their property, but there are laws governing such visits:
  • A landlord must give between 48 hours and 14 days notice of any inspection
  • Rental inspections cannot be made more than once a month
  • Rental inspections must take place between the hours of 8am and 7pm

Can the landlord or property manager undertake maintenance and repairs?

You should complete a property inspection with your landlord or property manager before you move in and document the findings in your Tenancy Agreement. This will document any existing home damage and help you to avoid any future disputes.

Your landlord must give you at least 24 hours' notice if they require access to your property to carry out maintenance and repairs - unless it is an emergency. If you require urgent repairs but cannot contact your landlord, you are entitled to contact a tradesperson yourself and pass on any reasonable costs.

You should report any rental property maintenance requirements to your landlord or property manager as soon as you notice them.  Failure to notify your landlord or property manager of a serious maintenance issue may see you held responsible for further damage.

Can I stop paying rent if the landlord refuses to do maintenance?

No. If you withhold rent you would be in breach of your Tenancy Agreement. Your rental payments are not tied in the Tenancy Agreement to any rental maintenance issues. Good landlords will endeavour to fix issues raised quickly.

What should I do if my request for maintenance continues to be ignored?

The landlord has an obligation to keep the rental property in a reasonable state of repair and to comply with all New Zealand building, health and safety requirements. If you feel that your landlord is not meeting these obligations, you may raise a grievance with the Tenancy Tribunal.  This step would normally be taken only after you have tried to resolve the issues with your landlord (and been unsuccessful). 

Can my pet live in my rental property with me?

You can have pets in your rental property as long as the rental property has suitable provision to do so, and you have approval from the landlord or property manager.  This approval will normally be noted in your Tenancy Agreement.  Living with your pet without prior approval will be a breach of your Tenancy Agreement.
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