What's the law on appointing an agent whilst overseas?

Rose Wilkinson asks:
(updated on Wednesday, August 12th 2009)

Has the RTA change that rental property owners must appoint an agent if they are going to be out of the country for more than 21 days (and also let the bond centre know who the agent is.) come into law yet? The first (reputable)Rental Management company I approached regarding short term management told me that don't do this.....is this normal practice?

Our Experts Answer:

A new Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill was introduced to Parliament on 13 May 2009. This Bill does require landlords that are absent from New Zealand for longer than 21 days to appoint an agent and notify the Department of Building and Housing, if a bond is held. The agent could be a friend or family member, for example, or a property management company.

Before becoming law, this Bill will need to pass through several stages including consideration by a select committee. Select committees usually invite public submissions on bills by placing advertisements in newspapers and on Parliament’s website. You can access a copy of the Bill, find out how a bill becomes law and track the Bill’s progress on Parliament’s website www.parliament.govt.nz.

In the meantime, under current law you can choose whether to appoint an agent. If you appoint an agent, you should write to your tenants giving them the agent’s name, address for service, contact details and any other relevant information (such as bank account details if the agent is to accept rent on your behalf). You should also write to the Department of Building and Housing with your agent’s details, to minimise any confusion or delay if any changes to the bond are needed during this time.

I suggest discussing the terms and conditions offered by different property management companies directly with them, to see if they meet your needs. For information on selecting a property manager, you can visit http://www.dbh.govt.nz/selecting-a-property-manager. To discuss your situation further, you can contact the Department of Building and Housing 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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