With the Christchurch rental market being the most competitive it has been in years, it is easy to lose sight of what is required of you as a landlord or tenant when you are navigating this new environment.

In recent times, the Christchurch residential rental market has become more challenging to prospective tenants. In 2021, there was a 32% drop in supply of rental properties in the region, and a 32% rise in demand. Coupled with this, rents are rising, and tenants are competing against each other to find a place to call home.

So, what obligations does a tenant have to their landlord? The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 sets out at section 40, the responsibilities of tenants. These are:

  • To pay the rent on time
  • Keep the property reasonably clean and tidy
  • Let the landlord know about any damages or repairs straight away
  • Pay for own outgoings, e.g. electricity, gas, internet
  • Use the property mainly for residential purposes, not business
  • Leave the property clean, tidy and clear of rubbish and possessions
  • Leave all keys with the landlord when they move out
  • Leave all items that were supplied with the tenancy.

Under section 45 of the Act, landlords are responsible for:

  • Making sure that the property is in a reasonable condition
  • Letting the tenant have quiet enjoyment of the property
  • Ensuring that the property meets all relevant building, health and safety standards
  • Handle any abandoned goods in the correct way
  • Inform the tenant if the property is for sale
  • Have an agent act on their behalf if they are out of New Zealand for more than 21 days.

Although these respective responsibilities are outlined in the Act, disputes still arise. The most common dispute between landlords and tenants is around what is required of a tenant when they are asked to keep or leave the property and garden in a “reasonably clean and reasonably tidy condition”. In short, recent decisions have found that there is no requirement for a tenant to clean a property to a professional standard.

If you do find yourself in a dispute with your tenant or landlord that cannot be resolved between yourselves, you can make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal. As the Tribunal can be a difficult environment to navigate, we recommend seeking legal advice. We are happy to help you prepare an application or with any questions you may have.

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Please get in touch with us if you have any questions, we are happy to help.

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