Sunday, April 14, 2024

Tenants should know their rights

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Tenants have rights under the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA). Image supplied

As rental accommodation is so expensive these days, there are a wide variety of situations people may be living in, and your rights may differ according to your situation.

If you are a tenant, then you have rights under the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA).

Your accommodation must have insulation and fixed heating, for example, and you have good security as (for tenancies set up after 11 February) you can only be asked to leave under specific circumstances.

You must have a tenancy agreement, and The Tenancy Tribunal may assist you with problems.

If you live in a boarding house (where each tenant has a separate tenancy agreement, and there are six or more tenants) you are also covered by the RTA.

A tenancy agreement for a boarding house tenancy must include all of the same details as a standard tenancy agreement, including statements relating to insulation, healthy homes standards and insurance.

Landlords can, however, give you 28 days’ notice to leave, unless otherwise stated in your agreement. If you live in a self-contained granny-flat, then you are also covered by the RTA.

The granny flat must fulfil the legal requirements for a habitation. This includes being self-contained (having its own bathroom and kitchen facilities) and having smoke alarm and insulation.

If the flat does not meet these requirements, you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to remedy this. If the landlord lives in the main house and the granny flat is not self-contained so that you have to share the bathroom and kitchen facilities in the main house with the landlord, then your renting situation would not be covered by the RTA.

This is a private boarding situation. It would still be advisable to have a tenancy agreement setting out details of how much Board is to be paid and what services this includes. If you have problems, you can apply to the Disputes Tribunal for a ruling.

If you live with a group of people, and you are not on the Tenancy Agreement, you are a flatmate. If you are not a tenant then your rights are based largely on what you agreed to with the tenant flatmates when you joined the flat.

It is always a good idea when moving into a new flat, to have a written flat-sharing agreement that covers issues such as payment of bond and rent, pets, housekeeping and what to do when one of you wants to leave. You can download a flat-sharing agreement template from the tenancy website.

  • This Solutions Column has been compiled by Mary and is a regular Times editorial from the Pakuranga Citizens Advice Bureau. Email enquiries.pakuranga@cab.org.nz or Visit us at the Library Building, Pakuranga, Phone 576 8331 and at Botany Citizens Advice Bureau, rear Food Court Entrance, Botany Town Centre, Phone 271 5382 or 0800 367 222 for free, confidential and informative help.

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