If you’re looking to rent, or have a property to rent out, there can be a lot to organise and remember. 

Here are some helpful tips to get you started.

Tips for landlords and property managers

The key to getting the most out of your rental property is to be business-like and professional. That means careful planning right from the start. It’s also important to know what all your rights and responsibilities are.

Make sure the property is in good condition and is lawful

It’s a good idea to present the property in a tidy condition. This will help to get people interested in the property and have respect for it once they move in. Make sure any maintenance or repairs are done before a tenancy begins.

Regular maintenance explains your responsibility for keeping the house safe and healthy to live in.

You also need to make sure the property complies with all legal requirements to do with buildings and health, and safety before renting it out.

Landlords who rent properties to tenants which are not lawful for residential purposes breach these legal obligations and could be ordered by the Tenancy Tribunal to repay rent and other penalties to the tenant.

Situations in which rental premises have been found by the Tenancy Tribunal to be unlawful for residential purposes include:

  • premises in which there has been unconsented building work and therefore are in breach of the Building Act 2004
  • dwellings which breach the relevant District Plan (for example there are additional dwellings on one title)
  • the code compliance for the building limits its use (for example to an office or outbuilding only)
  • the dwelling has been deemed by the local council to be "insanitary" under the Building Act 2004
  • occupation of the property for residential purposes is outside the scope of a resource consent and therefore breaches the Resource Management Act 1991.

Laws and bylaws have more information about the requirements set out by various laws and bylaws.

Rent payments and insurance

Work out how much rent you should charge, and have a separate bank account ready for it. If you rely on this account for any automatic payments (such as rates, insurance or mortgage payments) it is best to have a buffer in case the rent doesn’t go in when expected.

Make sure you have the right insurance, and you understand the requirements of your policy.

Insurance explains what you need to be aware of in your insurance policy.

Gather all the forms you’ll need

You’ll need all these forms at the start of a tenancy:

  • pre-tenancy application form 
  • tenancy agreement form
  • bond lodgement form

Gather the people or contacts you’ll need

It’s good to know who to call when you need help. Having contacts set up in advance can save time and headaches. Useful contacts to have are:

  • tradespeople (for repairs)
  • a credit check agency (for checking that tenants have good credit)
  • a local property investors association (for networking with other landlords)
  • our landlord newsletter (for staying up to date with things you need to know).

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Choose the right tenants

You want tenants who’ll care for your property and fulfil all their obligations.

Choosing the right tenant explains interviewing potential tenants and checking their references and credit.

Make sure the tenant can move in on the first day of the tenancy

You must take all reasonable steps to make sure there’s no legal reason stopping the tenant from moving into the house on the date the tenancy agreement says they can. This is known as ‘vacant possession’.

Get the tenancy off to a good start

Start a good relationship with your tenant from the beginning of the tenancy. The property inspection is a good time to talk about the condition of the property and how often you’ll do inspections.

Make sure the tenant has your contact details so you can stay in touch.

Initial property inspection explains the importance of the first inspection of a tenancy.
Inspections tells you about how often you should do inspections.

Tips just for property managers

As a property manager, you’re the landlord’s agent who looks after their investment. Make sure that:

  • you have written authority to act for the property owner
  • the written authority specifies what you’re responsible for and what the owner’s responsible for
  • you record your full legal business name on the tenancy agreement, and that you’re acting on behalf of the owner
  • you let the tenant know in writing immediately if the owner ends your contract.

Tips for tenants

To get the most out of renting, you need to be prepared to talk with your landlord. You need to make sure you’re entering into an agreement that will work for both of you. It’s also important to know what all your rights and responsibilities are.

Choose the right home

Choosing the right home has tips on how to find a place and how to work out what you can afford to pay.

Once you’ve found somewhere, make sure you co-operate with the landlord so they can easily choose you to be the tenant. For example, have contact details of your referees available.

Only sign documents when you’re ready

Read the tenancy agreement carefully (including the standard terms and any conditions) before you sign it. Only sign a tenancy agreement when you’re sure you want the property.

Record the condition of the property

Inspect the property with your landlord. Ask any questions you have and record any damage.

Initial property inspection has more on the importance of the first inspection.

Get the landlord’s contact details

You might also want to ask your landlord to complete a contact details form.

Download the contact details for the landlord form below.

Make the right payments

Find out about making payments for rent and bond.

Charging rent has more information about who is responsible for these costs.
Charging a bond has more information about how much bond can be charged.
Lodging a bond has more information about how to lodge a bond.

Get the right insurance

You’ll need contents insurance that includes tenant liability.

Insurance explains why the right sort of insurance is important.

Get services hooked up

Get the gas, electricity and phone connected. If you’re paying for water charges, record the water meter reading on the property inspection report and in the tenancy agreement.

Utilities and other payments has more information about who is responsible for these costs.Attend to the details.

Get all the small-but-important stuff sorted out:

  • get a set of keys
  • find out when rubbish and recycling is collected
  • get your mail redirected by the post office if needed.

Keep records

Get a signed copy of your tenancy agreement, and receipts for any payments you make. Keep them all in a safe place – they may help if there’s a dispute.

Keep records explains what you should keep as a record.

Tips for flatmates

Tips for flatmates

If you’re a flatmate or sharing a house, you’re not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act. But it’s still a good idea to have a written agreement. 

Download the flat-sharing agreement below.
Flatting describes the difference between a tenant and a flatmate.

Know that discrimination is illegal

Discrimination in tenancy matters has detailed information about discrimination in relation to renting.

Be aware of your rights and responsibilities

You need to be aware of your rights and responsibilities after you sign a tenancy agreement.

Your key rights and responsibilities lists the key tenancy rights and responsibilities in English and other languages.

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