Avoiding problems with flatmates

Question from Larissa updated on 9th August 2010:

We have had a fallout with our flatmate and he has decided he is moving out and wont pay rent during his three weeks notice. He wants to go down and withdraw some of the bond money that all flatmates paid for.Is he able to do this when the bond was placed under my name? If he can am I still entitled to live in my flat?

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 applies only to the relationship between a tenant and landlord.  It does not cover the relationship between tenants, or flatmates and tenants.  However, you may wish to seek independent legal advice from your local community law centre regarding your concerns with your flatmate.

Flatmates are encouraged to enter into a flatting agreement with each other.  Doing so may help avoid problems such as this.  An example of a flatting agreement is available at www.flatting101.co.nz.

If your flatmate is a tenant, and has given your landlord notice to terminate the tenancy, you should discuss what the implications of that will be for you with the landlord.

If a bond has been lodged with the Department of Building and Housing (the Department), the parties listed on the bond can agree for it to be refunded.  You may wish to contact the Department's Bond Advice line (0800 737 666) to clarify who is named on the bond record.

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.


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