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New Zealand Accommodation

If you are planning on renting an apartment or house when you arrive in New Zealand there is couple of things you should know as the letting / renting procedure there is somewhat different from renting in South Africa.

New Zealand Accommodation

New Zealand’s housing legislation and official processes are centrally administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), a government agency that provides standard contracts outlining the responsibilities of both tenants and landlords in New Zealand. This means that all contracts must adhere to the same conditions and that your rental deposit is not kept by the property owner but rather by the MBIE – which ensures a fair chance of getting it back when the rental agreement is terminated.

Expats pay a deposit or “bond” of up to four week’s rent in advance. The landlord will deposit this at the MBIE, which will issue both the landlord and the tenant with a receipt each.

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A person would need this receipt to claim their deposit when they leave the property. If there is any damage to the property that is determined to be the fault of the tenant, the costs will be deducted from the deposit before it is returned.

The agency also oversees landlord and tenant disputes and provides information such as average housing prices in different areas on its website. The MBIE serves to protect both parties during the lease period.

As is the case in South Africa most units are unfurnished, although potential tenants would be able to find furnished accommodation with a bit of effort if they are determined to.

Rent in New Zealand is usually paid twice a month, in advance – unlike South Africa where rent is typically paid on a monthly basis. It is a good idea to budget for the rental agents’ fee which is charged when the lease is signed and usually amounts to about one week’s rent.

Signing a lease in New Zealand

The official document signed when renting a property in New Zealand is the Residential Tenancy Agreement. Expats will either sign for a periodic tenancy which lasts until either the landlord or tenant gives notice, or a fixed-term tenancy which lasts for a set amount of time and cannot be terminated earlier.

The tenancy agreement should be signed by both the landlord and the tenant, and both parties should get a copy, and keep it in a safe place should there be any disagreements later on.

The word “outgoings” is often used when talking about real estate in New Zealand, and refers to all of the costs incurred by the landlord such as rates and taxes.

Tenants in New Zealand are usually responsible for any outgoings they use, including utilities such as water and electricity.

In Part 3 of the series we give advice on how purchasing real estate property works in New Zealand.

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