Tenant Information & Tips
Property Application Process
If you’ve found a property that ticks all the boxes for your needs, then it’s time to get the property application process underway. Fill out the Tenancy Application Form, attach a copy of your photo ID and submit.
We check references and credit background for every application.
We confirm your employment and tenancy history by calling your current and/or previous landlord or agent, contacting your employer, and checking your details against a National Database which searches:
- Tenancy Practice Service Limited comprehensive background check
- VEDA ADVANTAGE (previously BAYCORP)
If this is the first time you have looked for a rental property and you have no tenancy history we follow up alternative references, like employers or character references. We pass on the applications and checks to the property owner who makes the final choice of who will be the new tenants for their property.
There are two types of residential tenancy agreements:
- PERIODIC TENANCY - an agreement for an indefinite period until it is lawfully terminated by either party or by the Residential Tenancies Tribunal
- FIXED TERM TENANCY - a specific time agreed upon at the beginning of the tenancy (usually three, six or twelve months). The duration of the tenancy is guaranteed for you, but you are also legally responsible for the rent until the end of the tenancy – even if you decide you want to move out early.
When you sign the Residential Tenancy Agreement, we will give you a copy so that you have a record of each party's rights and responsibilities.
Upon acceptance of your tenancy application, we require a bond which we then lodge with the Bond Centre – Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Your bond is held as a form of financial protection against any unacceptable wear and tear, damage to the property, or money owing at the termination or end of your tenancy period.
The amount of bond you are required to pay is outlined in your tenancy agreement and may increase with any rent increases.
Once your payments have been made and the tenancy agreement signed, we can hand over the keys. You can collect your keys on your agreed moving in day. You may not change any locks or other security devices without the written consent of the landlord. It's always an idea to have a spare key – just in case.
At the end of your tenancy, all keys (even if you have had them copied yourself) must be returned to our office. You will need to keep paying rent until all keys are returned.
You are legally required to pay your rent in advance to the landlord before or on the date it is due. The method for payment is outlined in your tenancy agreement. If you cannot pay by the due date, you fall into arrears, or if you have any problems with rent payments, contact your Southland Real Estate property manager. In the event of rent arrears, Southland Real Estate will collect the rent on the landlord’s behalf under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 rules.
Your tenancy agreement should include how many and who is residing permanently at the property. If a tenant is moving into the property or out of it, you need to notify your Southland Real Estate property manager in writing. Any new tenants will be required to complete a tenancy application, provide photo ID and be approved by Southland Real Estate process before moving into the property.
An ingoing inspection is carried out before the commencement of your tenancy. Ingoing inspections ensure you are not held responsible for damages occurring before your tenancy starts. The ingoing inspection report is then filed, along with your tenancy agreement, as evidence of the property’s condition.
At regular intervals throughout your tenancy, your property manager will carry out routine inspections. Your Southland Real Estate property manager may also take photos and advise on the property’s condition to the owner.
At all reasonable times and with reasonable notice, the property owner or your Southland Real Estate property manager can enter the property for maintenance or property inspections. We will hold a key at our office to use if you are not home at the appointment time.
Repairs and Maintenance Process
If you have an issue relating to maintenance or repairs, fill out the Maintenance Request Form and notify your Southland Real Estate property manager immediately. Repairs will be carried out by a Southland Real Estate approved tradesperson who will communicate with you directly to arrange a time and day for repairs and maintenance to take place. Please advise if a key can be given to tradesperson to gain access.
Emergency Repairs Process
In the event of an issue that makes a tenant or property unsafe – e.g., dangerous electrical fault, plumbing faults and leaks, and burst pipes, contact your property manager immediately. For after-hours assistance, contact the Southland Real Estate office on 03 214 5554.
Note: Specific legislation outlines what is and isn’t an emergency repair. Tenants may be responsible for any fees pertaining to emergency call-outs for non-emergency repairs.
End of Tenancy
To find out what is required to end your tenancy, consult your Southland Real Estate property manager. Written notice will be required to vacate. The property is required to be left clean and tidy including the lawns and gardens.
Upon return of the keys, payment of all rent and outstanding invoices and a final inspection, your bond will be sent to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment to be refunded to your nominated bank account.
Note: Failure to return keys within the specified timeframe will result in the locks being changed at the property at your cost.
End of Fixed Term Tenancy
When you are coming to the end of your fixed term tenancy, we will drop you a line to confirm whether you would like to renew your tenancy and will confirm this with the property owners.
Leaving before my Fixed Term Tenancy Expires
When you sign a Fixed Term tenancy agreement, you are legally responsible for the rent payments until the expiry date of the tenancy agreement. You cannot give notice to leave, unless you have reached the agreement expiry date.
If you want to leave your property before your Fixed Term Tenancy expires, then please contact us. The owner of the property may allow us to try to find new tenants for your property to take over the rest of your tenancy. There will be an advertising and administration fee, and you are liable for the rent up to when the new tenant can actually move in.
End of Periodic Tenancy
If you would like to leave your property, and you have signed a periodic tenancy agreement, you must give 21 days’ notice in writing – an email is fine. Or you can fill out our Notice to Vacate Form.
What if I want to leave earlier than the 21 day’s notice period?
You will be responsible for the rent for the 21 day notice period unless we are able to secure suitable new tenants who wish to move in to the property sooner.
My flatmate is leaving, but I am staying on and have found a new flatmate.
Your new flatmate will need to fill in an application form. We run credit checks and ask the owner to approve the new flatmate. The flatmate who is leaving will also want their portion of the bond back. Contact us and we can help explain the process, and give you the correct form to sign over the bond.
Once you have agreed a moving out date with us, we will start to advertise your property - we work hard to minimise the time that it is vacant. We very much appreciate your help in allowing prospective tenants to view the property.
We will always notify you before any viewing unless you have instructed us otherwise, and a property manager from our office will be present at every appointment.
In order for your bond refund to be processed as quickly as possible, everyone who signed the original bond form must sign the bond refund form – we will send this refund form to you to fill in. You can return this form to our office or give it to your property manager at your final inspection. Do not enter any $ value amounts on this form - your property manager will complete these details with you after the final inspection.
Utilities: Phone, Electricity, Gas, Garden Maintenance
At the beginning of your tenancy, it’s up to you to have the electricity, gas, internet and telephone connected and transferred to your name. When you leave, it is your responsibility to arrange final meter readings and disconnection of these services as well as a having your mail re-directed to your new address. Contact your suppliers and arrange for these services to be disconnected on the day you move out - or you can contact Fast Connect to transfer your accounts. Fast Connect offers a service that can help make the job a little easier, by arranging all your utility connections and transfers in one step.
Visit New Zealand Post to arrange for your mail to be re-directed to your new address.
Contact Detail Alterations
If, at any time, you change any of your contact information – e.g., home and business phone numbers and email addresses, notify your property manager immediately. We may need to contact you via these channels and require up-to-date contact information at all times.
Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, no tenant shall interfere with a means to escape from fire – including smoke alarms. Do not remove or tamper with smoke alarms and let your property manager know if your smoke alarms are no longer working.
Rubbish and Recycling
It is the tenant’s responsibility to keep the property tidy and free from debris. Rubbish and recycling collection vary for each suburb. Visit www.wastenet.org.nz to find out your collection day, or www.icc.govt.nz for more information.
Property insurance responsibilities lie with the landlord. However, you, as the tenant, are responsible for your possessions and any contents insurance and tenant liability insurance you may require.
For your own protection, we strongly recommend you take out individual content’s insurance. Check with the insurer that this includes a component for tenant liability. Insurance companies may sue you for any damage caused (fire etc) even though the property owner has house insurance. Take a look at the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment suggestions here:
Pets may or may not be permitted. Refer to your tenancy agreement. Where pets are allowed, the tenant must rectify any damage caused by the pet.
Gardens, Outdoor Areas, and Landscaping
The tenant is responsible for all garden maintenance, lawn mowing, edges and disposal of green waste unless otherwise stated in your tenancy agreement.
If you require emergency assistance after hours, phone Southland Real Estate on 03 214 5554 to access the after-hours answering service.