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Renting a house in New Zealand is a simple process. Our New Zealand property partner, Property Brokers, have a huge range of properties available to rent. Having rentals in one central location makes it easy to understand the market, the rental prices and supply of properties in the areas you are looking to live.
Location, size and the condition of the property are the key determiners of rental prices The proximity to town, sea views, and top schools are factors that impact price. If you have a family and your preferred school is zoned then you may have to pay a premium to rent within this zone. Well regarded schools that have zone boundaries are often listed in landlord/agency advertisements.
Auckland’s rental prices are higher than the rest of the country and in Trade Me’s July 2016 Rent Price Index the average Auckland weekly rental for a 3-4 bedroom house was $570 compared to $470 in Wellington and $435 in Christchurch.
You should arrive prepared with a number of documents for your rental application such as:
- Proof of identity (passport, driver’s license, birth certificate)
- Proof of income and bank statements for the last three months
- Previous rental agreements
- References are one of the most important parts of the application and you should include your current employer and if possible, a previous landlord
Types of Tenancy Agreements
There are two types of tenancy agreements – fixed term and periodic.
In a fixed term agreement, the length of the agreement is for a set period – usually for six months or for one year. The price of the rental can’t be increased during this time unless there is a clause in the tenancy agreement that allows for this. Fixed term means fixed term and the only way to break an agreement if both the landlord and tenants agree. Often an exit fee is charged by the landlord to cover their out of pocket expenses.
A periodic agreement is a rolling agreement with a notice period of generally three weeks to end the contract.
There are a number of costs associated with renting in New Zealand but, unlike the UK, council tax in New Zealand is paid for by the landlord.
You will need to pay a letting fee of usually one week’s rent plus GST.
Advanced rent is normally payable and this can be up to two weeks in advance.
You will need to set up and pay for your utilities. Water fees are only payable if there is a water meter installed in the property.
There is also a bond which is generally equivalent to four weeks rent. This bond is not held by the landlord or agency, but by Tenancy Services, part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The bond can be used to cover unpaid rent, damage to the property (if it’s the tenant’s fault) or any claim relating to the tenancy. If you properly look after your property, and pay your rent in full, you should get your bond refunded after you move out. You will need to complete Tenancy Services forms when lodging bonds and seeking a refund at the end of your tenancy. www.tenancy.govt.nz.
It is highly recommended that you take out home contents insurance as the majority of homes are unfurnished.
Landlords are responsible for insuring the building and unless the damage is caused intentionally or is the result of an imprisonable offence then the landlord’s insurance usually covers all the damage. The tenant is not responsible for repairs or damage arising from burglaries, natural events (such as storms, floods and earthquakes), or fair wear and tear.
It is important to record the condition of the property and ideally inspect it with the landlord. Take photos to record any damage which you can use if a dispute arises.
Tenancy Services has a wealth of information for renters and the Tenants Protection Association Christchurch (TPA) tpa.org.nz protect rights, interests, and welfare of tenants in the Christchurch region. It is a good resource if the house that you are looking to rent has earthquake damage.