Unfair letting fee?

Emily asks:
(updated on Friday, June 08th 2012)

We have been on a contract for almost 12 months with a property management company. We have to move out when the 12 months is finished as the landlord wants to move back in. Meanwhile one of our neighbours (a tenant of the same property management company)is breaking his lease and we have agreed to move in and take over his lease. The property management company is charging us a letting fee even when it had no part in finding a new tenant (us in this case). Is there any way we can avoid having to pay this fee?

Our Experts Answer:

Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, letting fees may be charged by a solicitor or a letting agent (such as a property management company) when granting or assigning a tenancy. This can include situations where a new tenancy agreement is entered into, where an existing tenancy has been assigned to a new tenant and where the new tenancy arrangement relates to a different property. I would suggest that you discuss the matter with your property management company and explain your position as they may agree to waive the letting fee in this case. If they do agree to waive the letting fee then make sure you record it in the Tenancy Agreement. To discuss your situation further or for more information about the circumstances where letting fees may be charged, you can visit the Department’s website (www.dbh.govt.nz), or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

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