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Tenancy Basics: What You Need to Know When You Start Renting in New Zealand

What You Need to Know When You Start Renting in New Zealand
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When you plan to rent a property in New Zealand, there are a couple of things that you as a tenant need to know and prepare for. First, you need to make sure you have enough cash saved. This is a must before you can rent any property, and that amount will go into a bond and the first series of advance rental payments.

Every landlord whether private or through an agency will expect a bond amount and rental payments from the tenant.

What is a Bond?

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A bond is the required cash the tenant needs to put up and pay for at the start of the tenancy. This is also a security deposit to cover any damage or fees the tenant might owe at the end of the lease. This needs to be legally registered.

A landlord usually asks for a bond amount that is a total of four weeks’ rent. By law, the landlord can’t ask the tenant more than this amount and they must give the tenant a receipt for the bond paid. You can pay the bond weeks before you move in or the day you move into a property.

Afterwards, the bond money will be held in trust by the local Tenancy Services (this is part of the NZ Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) who will secure it for both parties. This later on could cover the following:

  • Any amount of unpaid rent or penalty fees.
  • Damage to the property or repair fees
  • Any further claim(s) that is tied to the tenancy.

But what exactly happens to the bond money when the tenancy ends?

After a visit to Tenancy Services, the bond can be claimed by the tenant. However, the amount to be returned will rely on the state of the rental unit, and how you as the tenant has left it. Tenants who have taken care of the property well and paid the rent without fail month by month often get a full refund of their bond.

The landlord can claim some or all of the bond money if any money is owed to them by the tenant at the end of the tenancy – this might include unpaid rent, property damage, deductions on repairs or any amount relating to the tenancy. 

Rent in New Zealand

In New Zealand, rent is calculated weekly, a property owner can request for one or two weeks’ rent in advance.

If the tenant is going to pay the rent weekly, then the landlord can ask for one week in advance, or fortnightly, that’s two weeks in advance. However, a landlord can’t request for the succeeding rent payment until all the paid rent has been exhausted.

The average rent in New Zealand for a small home with 1-2 bedrooms will cost around 400-500 NZD a week. Rental rates in New Zealand vary per city and region. In Whangarei the experts at RentalsCo can assist.

What You Need to Know When You Start Renting in New Zealand

There are many ways for the tenant to pay the rent. But how the tenant decides to send the payment for collection should be stated properly in the tenancy agreement.

The tenant usually pays the rent via the following financial transactions. Cheque based payments have typically become a thing of the past.

  • Cash/Card. The classic and easiest way to pay.
  • Automatic payment. These include methods like mobile payment, online rent payment, credit cards and debit cards. 
  • Cash cheque. This is an open cheque that any individual can encash at a payment counter.
  • Non-negotiable personal cheque. This is a cheque documenting a financial transaction or the future payments to be made, but this cheque cannot be directly exchanged for cash.

After receiving rental payments, the landlord must give receipts for rental payments. They may also email the tenant directly with a banking statement outlining the payments made.

For tenants, it’s always a good idea to keep receipts even if the landlord keeps rental records. The tenant can ask for a copy of a rent summary from the landlord anytime.

Renting Out Property in Whangarei

Whangarei is a great place to invest in rental properties and it can be a financially rewarding journey for any property owner.

But are you familiar with Whangarei’s tenancy laws and council regulations? It can be quite daunting for property owners who own multiple properties in different regions to keep up with changing regulations and legal updates on tenancy issues.

Trust in a property management company that will look out for your rental properties.

RentalsCo will make sure your property is cared for, safe and stays compliant within local tenancy rules. Consult with us for our tenancy management services in Whangarei.

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Call us at 09 459 7139 or email inquiries at info@rentalexperts.co.nz.
Get in touch with us today!