Renters in New Zealand possess several legal rights, and understanding them is essential. Renters United's President, Geordie Rogers, highlights five
Renters in New Zealand possess several legal rights, and understanding them is essential. Renters United’s President, Geordie Rogers, highlights five lesser-known rights that renters should be aware of:
The Rights of Renters vs. Flatmates:
- Renters in New Zealand may assume they have the same rights under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). However, the type of agreement you have, whether it’s a boarding house agreement, residential tenancy agreement, or flatmate agreement, affects your rights.
- Younger people and those with more transient housing experiences may enter into flatmate agreements, which don’t grant the same rights as RTAs.
- For any housing agreement, it’s crucial to have everything in writing to provide strong evidence in case of disputes.
The Healthy Homes Standards:
- All private rentals must comply with Healthy Homes standards by July 2025, irrespective of when the property was first rented.
- If you signed your tenancy agreement after July 1, 2021, landlords have 90 days from the agreement date to ensure compliance.
- The standards encompass moisture control, draft-stopping, and heating. Renters can check these aspects to ensure their homes meet the standards.
Making Minor Alterations:
- Renters can make minor alterations to their homes with the landlord’s permission, such as affixing a bookshelf or installing a handrail, or a ramp.
- Minor alterations should not go beyond reasonable wear and tear.
Providing Notice After Experiencing Domestic Violence:
- A new provision allows individuals who experience domestic violence to give two days’ notice to withdraw from their tenancy without revealing the reasons to other tenants.
- Landlords must maintain the confidentiality of such cases.
Ensuring You Get Your Whole Bond Back:
- Renters should understand that the bond is their money, and landlords must prove any claims to access it.
- Wear and tear over time should not be the renter’s responsibility.
- Taking photos during move-in, especially of any existing damages, can help renters ensure they get their bond back in full.
Understanding these rights can empower renters to advocate for themselves and maintain healthy, secure tenancies.