Tenancy Expert

Tenancy
Ask Jennifer Sykes, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment questions relating to tenants and landlords

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

Letting fees

Alex asks:

I've moved out of an apartment two weeks ago and am waiting on my bond refund. I have a few questions about what I am entitled to.

I rented the property through a real estate manager. My weekly rent was $580. This means my letting fee should have been $580 +15% which is $667. I paid $759, a $92 difference. The letting fee was used to secure the property.

"Next step is for you to secure the apartment till the move in date by putting a deposit down. Please make a payment of letting fee and GST ($759.00) today in order for us to withdraw the property from the market."

I know I am definitely entitled to the $92 back, but am I entitled to the rest of the letting fee too?

Also, in the apartment there were absolutely no smoke alarms nor any sign there ever had been. Is there anything I can get from this due to the health and safety risk?

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Tenancy notice periods

Lazarus asks:

If a landlord gives notice to terminate the tenancy and the tenant finds a new place to live within a short time after the notice is issued. What is the maximum period for which that tenant must pay rent for? Is it only up till when they vacate the property?

Depending on your answer to the question above, do circumstances change in any way if the landlords original notice was not a notice because it was not valid (i.e. 42 days was given with an accompanying invalid reason which does not comply with Section 51(1) in the Act). In this case due to the landlords incompetence they are insisting on 42 days even though the tenant has already raised that it should be 90 days...

Basically, I am curious if 21 days notice is still legally required from the tenant even though the incompetent landlord seems to think that his notice was valid?

Lastly, if a tenant gives their 21 days notice, do they always strictly have to pay up to those 21 days or can the landlord in any way waive this?

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Deducting bond

Selena asks:

I'm a new property manager and a tenant recently told me about deducting the full bond as four weeks rent because she will be moving out in four weeks... Can she do that?

I think the landlord will leave it as negative history on the tenancy check website if the tenant is going to do that. Can I tell her that or will that be identified as threatening? 

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