Question from Gabi updated on 20th December 2016:
We own a property with a maximum of five tenants allowed as per the tenancy agreement. Recently our property manager asked the head tenant how many people lived there and he said six, and it wasn't until we told the property managers that this goes against the lease that he changed his mind to say five people.
When we went to the property a few months ago we noticed that someone had converted the second lounge to a bedroom, and during the recent inspection we found one of the bedrooms is fully set up, but according to the tenants is only being used as a guest room.
How can we get definitive proof that someone is living there as they will always have enough notice for inspections to move the other tenant out? Also, if we find another tenant is living there how do we go about raising the rent as this will cause extra damage to the property.
Our expert Bernard Parker responded:
It is a difficult question to decide when somebody is visiting and when they have become an occupant. The question “how long is a piece of string?” comes to mind.
I suspect there won’t be definitive proof that someone is living in the property, rather than visiting for a week or two. I suggest you ask your property manager to have a chat with the head tenant and advise that you are going to raise the rent. Then see what comes out of the discussion.
Your property manager should know the rules about frequency of rent increases, comparison with a market rent, and the notice required. Talk with your property manager, and leave them to do the job.Bernard is principal of Quinovic – Kapiti-Mana. Quinovic's outstanding people and systems provide the most professional, effective and reliable residential property management service in the NZ market for over 30 years.