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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 and the processes. And as with any business, things keep changing, eg:

  • smoke alarms are now compulsory in your rental home and you must fit the right type in the right places
  • all your new tenancy agreements must now include an insulation statement disclosing if there is insulation, where, what type and its condition — you must make all reasonable efforts to provide this information so tenants know what to expect
  • you will need ceiling and underfloor insulation, where reasonably practicable, by July 2019, though some exclusions could apply.

If you don’t comply you could face penalties of up to $4,000.

Healthy homes (external link) — Tenancy Services website.

What happens if you get it wrong

Most landlords and tenants want to do the right thing.

The Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team investigates serious breaches of basic housing standards, which can lead to enforcement action.

However, the government doesn’t need a tenant’s complaint to do something — it can act on behalf of a tenant in the Tenancy Tribunal and District Court, even without the tenant’s permission. 

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.

If you’re having trouble, Tenancy Services will help resolve the dispute by talking to you about the problem, arranging mediation or referring you to the Tenancy Tribunal.
Tenancy Services can help you with:

  • understanding different tenancy types 
  • making tenancy agreements
  • paying rent, bond and bills 
  • understanding your rights and responsibilities
  • doing maintenance and inspections
  • keeping records
  • giving notice and ending a tenancy.

The Tenancy Services website (external link) has agreements, forms and templates to make the paperwork easier. You can pay and lodge bonds online, and lodge complaints and Tenancy Tribunal applications.

Market rent calculator (external link) — Tenancy Services

Forms and templates (external link) — Tenancy Services

Disputes (external link) — Tenancy Services

Landlord News and Market Rent e-newsletters (external link) — Tenancy Services

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