Helpful Tips for a First Time Renter

Helpful Tips for a First Time Renter

So…You’re sick of living at home? Following Mum and Dad’s house rules? Time to get out and live life with some friends? Well it’s all fun and games when it goes right but you can be tied into all sorts of trouble if it goes wrong.

Here are some tips to help you make it a great experience

1) Realise from the beginning that it shouldn’t be something that happens overnight. The rental market changes constantly…… Some months there will be a lot of properties available to view, other months next to none. You will be signing a fixed term tenancy and therefore you will need to stay in the property until that lease runs out. Is the property what you really want? Is there adequate heating? Is the neighbourhood right for you? Where are the closest shops? What garden maintenance are you expected undertake? Don’t rush into the first property you see or you may end up regretting it.

2) You will require plenty of money up front. Almost all Landlords in New Zealand require an upfront payment of 4 weeks rent in bond and a weeks rent in advance. You will get the bond back if you return the property in the state that it was given to you- but not until the end of your tenancy. Make sure you have this money ready and waiting before you start looking for your new home to avoid disappointment.

3) Be prepared to sell yourself. There may be several people applying for the same property- so what makes you better than the others? Especially when you don’t have a rental history. Make sure that you and your car turn up looking neat and tidy, property agents often seem nice walking you out to your car- but trust me they are checking it out to see what state it is in. When possible, turn up with a completed application form and copies of your ID.

4) Avoid having pets at the beginning of your rental journey. More rentals are available to those tenants who do not have pets, rightly or wrongly when a landlord sees a pet they also see damage- no matter how wonderful you tell them that your particular pet is. Many tenants believe that they can pay an extra bond for a pet- This is not true under the Residential Tenancy Act.

5) A fixed term tenancy is a fixed term tenancy. Landlords will require you to sign up for a fixed term. Generally this will be for 12 months but this may vary depending on the time of year. Neither party can just cancel this agreement just because of a change of mind. If you move out prior to the end of the fixed term you will be held responsible for the rent until the landlord finds a new tenant AND any expenses that they may incur finding them.

6) You might burn the landlord’s house down. Ok- that is extreme but is has happened. Don’t forget to insure your own belongings but also check with your insurer about liability cover- it doesn’t cost much more.

7) Remember that a tenancy agreement is a legal document. Please read it in detail to know both your responsibilities and your landlords. Don’t forget that your landlord is also accountable under the Residential Tenancies Act- If they breach the Act then you can take it to Tenancy Tribunal. Hopefully it can get resolved over the phone.
How’s your credit? Almost all landlords will conduct a credit check; and moving forward they will find out if you have skipped out of another property with rent arrears or having done damage to another property. If things are found on your history you have just made your chance very very slim.

8) BE HONEST- This is the best thing that you can do; with the checks that landlords do it is likely that they will find out if you are stretching the truth. Landlords know that life happens and there may be the odd blemish in credit checks- so be upfront and it may not be an issue.
They will find out about the dog you forgot to mention or the other 6 people that have moved in and these things will result in a tribunal ruling that will continue to show on your records for years

GOOD LUCK IN THAT HUNT FOR YOUR NEW HOME- It’s not all scary out there but just be prepared