Agreement flaws

Question from Angelique updated on 3rd January 2018:

We have been renting a property for several months and have now signed the tenancy agreement. But when the copy was given to us we noticed that the landlord had changed the date on the form and it had shown two different addresses. When we contacted the landlord he told us that the date we put on the form was wrong hence the reason why he changed it. But the commencement date is also wrong and also there are faults in the property which is filed on the agreement. The property is also on the market which the landlord did not inform us about before we signed the agreement.

Our expert Jennifer Sykes responded:

Both tenants and landlords are responsible for ensuring that all information is recorded accurately at the time of signing a tenancy agreement. This includes the start date and the tenancy address. The landlord must, before the start of the tenancy, provide the tenant with a copy of the tenancy agreement.

The property inspection report (the part of the tenancy agreement where the condition of the property is recorded) should also be filled out and agreed by both parties at the start of the tenancy. This report can help the landlord know if there is any maintenance required, and may be compared with the final property inspection report conducted at the end of the tenancy.

A landlord is required to inform a prospective tenant if the property is up for sale before renting out the premises, so speak to the landlord in the first instance if this did not occur. A landlord must also inform a current tenant if the property is put on the market during the course of the tenancy.

The type of tenancy agreement you have (periodic or fixed-term) will determine when the tenancy can be terminated, for example if a buyer wants to move in.

To discuss other options, call 0800 TENANCY or go to www.tenancy.govt.nz.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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