If you're a landlord, you're in business
Your rental property might be the result of a clever investment plan or something you just fell into. Either way, if you collect rent on a rental home, you’re running a business and there are rules you’ll need to comply with.
What you need to know
Like any small business, if you rent a home, you have customers — your tenants — and contracts and laws you need to understand. You have to be across the property, the people, the paperwork, the processes and the law changes.
Some requirements all landlords should be aware of are:
- smoke alarms are compulsory in your rental home and you must fit the right type in the right places
- you must have ceiling and underfloor insulation installed, though some exclusions could apply. See: Insulation tool - Tenancy Services
- you must keep your rental property in a reasonable state of repair – this means working together with your tenants on maintenance. See: Maintenance and inspections - Tenancy Services
- all your new tenancy agreements must include an insulation statement disclosing if there is insulation, where, what type and its condition
- you must include a statement in new, renewed or varied tenancy agreements that confirms you will, or already do, meet the healthy homes standards. This statement can be combined with the insulation statement, with one signature. See: Healthy Homes - Tenancy Services
- you must provide a statement informing your tenants that a copy of each insurance policy that relates to the tenant’s liability for property damage is available on request. This way your tenants are aware of anything the policy doesn’t cover or anything they might do that would make that policy invalid.
Tenancy Services provides templates for the required statements, along with further guidance for landlords.
Statements for tenancy agreements - Tenancy Services
Positive tenant relationship
It’s important that tenants and landlords talk to each other and work together to solve any problems as soon as they happen. If you can’t agree, there are a number of options available, eg mediation.
Disputes - Tenancy Services
Tenancy Services, a part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, holds bond money in trust and has resources and services to help landlords and tenants understand their rights and responsibilities.
Tenancy Services provides information and tools to help you with:
- understanding different tenancy types
- making tenancy agreements
- paying rent, bond and bills
- understanding your rights and responsibilitie
- doing maintenance and inspections
- keeping records
- staying up to date about law changes, including the healthy homes standards
- giving notice and ending a tenancy.
The Tenancy Services website has agreements, forms and templates to make the paperwork easier. You can pay and lodge bonds online, and lodge complaints and Tenancy Tribunal applications.
Source: Business. Govt. NZ
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