Open home hassles

Question from Kate updated on 3rd April 2012:

The home that I rent is going on the market. It was on last year but it did not sell. It was a real pain showing people through and keeping the house tidy 24/7. Is it unreasonable to ask for reduced rent this time round? If yes how much would you consider reasonable? We are currently paying $320 per week. Also if the house does sell, how much notice do we have to legally get by our landlord?

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 does not require a landlord to reduce the rent while a property is on the market. However, you could ask your landlord about the possibility of a rent reduction, and if your landlord is willing, you can mutually agree on the amount and duration. Any agreement reached should be clearly recorded in writing.

To show the premises to prospective purchasers the landlord must obtain your prior consent. You cannot unreasonably refuse consent, but may attach reasonable conditions to that consent.

If your tenancy is for a fixed term then it can be ended by agreement between the parties, but it cannot be ended by notice. When the property sells, then you and your landlord can agree to end your tenancy, or your tenancy will continue on the same terms and conditions with the new owner as the landlord. If you and your landlord agree to end your tenancy early, then this agreement should be recorded in writing.

If your tenancy is a periodic tenancy (a tenancy that has no end-date specified) then it can be terminated by either party giving written notice. When the property sells, if the landlord is required by an unconditional agreement for the sale of the premises to give the purchaser vacant possession, then the landlord may give at least 42 days’ written notice to end the tenancy.

Tenants may give at least 21 days’ written notice to terminate a periodic tenancy, at any time during the tenancy and regardless of whether the landlord has also given notice to end the tenancy.

Notices to terminate a tenancy must contain certain information and service time must also be allowed for.

To find out about the requirements for notices of termination and service times, please visit the Department’s website. To discuss your situation further you can call us on 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

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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