The Department of Building and Housing has standard agreements and it is easiest when this is used as it will not need to be reviewed by a lawyer. There are two types of tenancy: fixed term and periodic. Fixed term tenancies have a defined start and end date and both parties have to agree if it is to be terminated early. Periodic tenancies continue indefinitely until either party gives notice. The standard notice period is 21 days for the tenant to give notice and 90 days for the landlord. The landlord can give 42 days notice in specific circumstances, such as if he wants to move in to the property himself.
References will be required when renting a property. This will be from a previous landlord if you have rented before or character references from employers or other not related to you. Tenants also have to pay the letting fee (generally one week’s rent) if rented through an estate agent as well as a bond which can be up to four week’s rent. The bond is held by Tenancy Services Centre and refunded at the end of the tenancy provided the property is undamaged. If there is a dispute Tenancy Services will advise on the tenant’s rights and responsibilities and help to resolve the problem.
Rent is generally payable every two weeks. The landlord is responsible for the rates and home insurance, although the tenant will need to have contents insurance. The tenant is responsible for utilities, including water where there is a meter.
To find a rental property you will need to contact letting agents or search online. Realestate.co.nz and TradeMe are sites which list properties available for rent. There is also a section for flatmates for those who want to share with other flatmates. There is high demand for rental properties and so you need to move quickly, but you should always see a flat before renting as agents and landlords can tend to embellish the description of properties.
There are agencies that will secure a property for you before you arrive in New Zealand, but these tend to be more expensive, it can be difficult to visualize a property you have not seen and any issues with the location are difficult to identify.
Rentals vary widely depending on the size, location and quality of the home. Auckland is the most expensive city, but prices vary significantly within each city. Tenancy Services provide stats on the weekly rents in different areas. Here are some examples:
|2 bedroom flat||3 bedroom house|
|Avondale Auckland||NZ$372 to NZ$448||NZ$530 to NZ$595|
|Ponsonby/Freemans Bay Auckland||NZ$620 to NZ$800||NZ$838 to NZ$1,000|
|Northland Wellington||NZ$620 to NZ$800||NZ$590 to NZ$695|
|Christchurch – Central||NZ$350 to NZ$420||NZ$402 to NZ$620|
|Napier||NZ$280 to NZ$550||NZ$370 to NZ$450|