If you’re thinking of getting into a rental property investment, you need to understand there is a lot more than just the finances to consider. The New Zealand Residential Tenancies Act outlines rules and regulations for the protection of you, but also the rights of your tenant. Being a landlord involves a number of legal responsibilities that you must adhere to.
Key Landlord Responsibilities
Your responsibilities as outlined by the New Zealand Residential Tenancies Act are as follows.
You must provide and maintain the premises in a reasonable condition
You must allow your tenant the quiet enjoyment of the premises
You must comply with all of the building, health and safety standards that apply to the premises
You cannot seize the tenant’s belongings for any reason
At the end of the tenancy agreement, you must deal with belongings abandoned by the tenant according to the Residential Tenancies Act. This means you can dispose of foods and perishables, but personal property must be stored for 35 days as long as their value warrants the cost of storage. After 35 days the belongings may be sold for a reasonable, market price.
You must inform tenants of the property going on the market or of any intention to sell the property.
Right of Entry
While you might own the property, once it has been rented you may not come and go as you please. Right of entry laws regulate your rights to enter the property and put a protocol you must follow in place if you need to enter to premises for anything other than an emergency.
Repairs and maintenance require a 24-hour notice and you may only enter the property between the hours of 8am and 7pm to complete them.
Property inspections require 48 hours notice and you may only enter the property between 8am and 7pm.
Of course, with the tenants consent at the time of entry you may freely enter the property.
Changing the Locks
Locks should provide security and safety to your tenants at all times. If, for any reason, you need to change the locks then you must only do so with the agreement of your tenant.
These are just some of the basics of landlord responsibility. Most of these cannot be changed by any tenancy agreement, so it pays to talk to a lawyer before you write one up if you have any concerns. Remember that the happier you keep your tenants the better relationship you will have and the less problems you will encounter. Better landlords enjoy higher occupancy rates and less lost income.