A tenancy agreement is a legal document between the tenant or tenants and a landlord and/or property manager. Whether renting a property privately of through an agent, a tenancy agreement protects the rights of the tenants and the property owner. The aim is to protect the asset, the property from damage and neglect as well as the rights of the tenant and property owner.
Minimum requirements or clauses for a tenancy agreement in New Zealand would be:
1. property address
2. name(s) of tenant(s)
3. name of owner and property agent if applicable
4. term of tenancy
5. agreed rent amount
In addition to these essential requirements additional clauses are usually included as standard. Whether the agreement is handwritten or typed, one or five pages long it needs to cover the basic terms of the tenancy. Once signed by both parties the lease becomes a legal and binding contract.
As well as stating the address of the property to be rented, an address for service is usually required. This could be the tenants parents as an alternative contact in an emergency or for receiving mail at the end of the tenancy for example. A contact address should also be provided for the property owner, this may be the estate agent or property manager on their behalf.
All adult tenants are usually required to be named on a tenancy even married couples and adult dependents. As an agreed tenant each named person can be liable for the entire rent in the event of any arrears from other tenants in a shared arrangement or in the case of a relationship breakup. Children do not legally have to be named but are often included. At this step there may be a clause that limits the maximum number of tenants, children included. This can be to prevent sub-letting of the property and minimise wear and tear from multiple families or generations sharing one house for example.
The term of the tenancy is important for both the tenant and the owner. Often agreements state a fixed term with 6 months being the minimum but 12 months is more common. Some rental agreements run from month-to-month unless terminated by the landlord or tenant. The term may depend on a number of factors like whether the house is for sale as well in which case a fixed term is unlikely so that the new owners could more easily give tenants notice upon their purchase.
The agreed dollar amount for rent should be clearly stated along with the frequency of payments. Rent is usually paid weekly in advance. The date of the first payment should be clearly stated so that calculations can easily be made at the end of the tenancy of any outstanding rent due or over payments made.
Within this clause details can be included of how payments are to be made e.g. direct bank transfer, cash/cheque at the rental office with direct bank transfer becoming more common. Here is where the lease may include any details about late payment fees and what to do if arrears happen.
Possible additional clauses may include references to pets (type and numbers of), deposits (refundable upon leaving property in same condition as start of tenancy), business activity restrictions, right to entry for inspections, access for repairs and maintenance including procedures for requesting work to be done and notifying the owner of any issues that cause damage if left untreated and any other clauses designed to protect the property from misuse. A condition report is usually attached to the tenancy agreement and will include a list of chattels as well as their condition such as curtains, blinds and any furniture or electrical items included.
Manage My Rentals are experienced property managers in Wellington. For information about us as Wellington property managers visit our website at www.managemyrental.co.nz. Our areas for property management include Upper Hutt so if looking to rent a property or rent out your own property then contact us today.