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REINZ Launches New First-time Renters Guide

The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) 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.

Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at REINZ says: “Renting can be a confusing and daunting process and 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,” continues Norwell.

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,” points out Norwell.

“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,” continues Norwell.

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.

“Many parents have found that the rental laws have changed so significantly since they were renting that they’re unable to provide guidance and advice to their children when they leave home. Tenants should be aware there are further changes to come under the RTA Amendment Act 2020, the majority of those commencing 11 February 2021 – some of which are covered off in the guide. So hopefully the guide will be useful for parents as they help their children navigate their way into renting their first property,” concludes Norwell.

The guide is available to download free of charge from: https://www.blog.reinz.co.nz/blog/first-time-renters-guide

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