Renters Guide

Rental prices in New Zealand are normally quoted on a weekly basis (with the exception of short stay/holiday accommodation). A bond is taken and held by the Tenancy Tribunal (Government agency) until the end of the tenancy. Often you will pay one week’s rent in advance and three week’s bond to move in. So, if an apartment is quoted as $280 per week you will need $1,120 to move in.

If you use a real estate letting agency you may have an agency fee to pay (often one week’s rent). The only other costs you generally pay for are power and phone. In some cases you will pay the water rates. You will need to arrange your own ‘contents insurance’ for the items that belong to you that are stored in your rental apartment.

Rental Tips
If you are travelling to NZ from overseas book short stay accommodation for a few days here. This will give you time to find suitable longer term accommodation once you are here, rather than book something sight unseen. A shuttle service runs on a regular basis from Auckland airport to Downtown Auckland.

Make a list
Make a list of your top priorities. Do you need a parking space? A large kitchen or wardrobe space? A ground-floor entrance to your apartment? Thinking through your needs ahead of time can help you find an apartment that meets those needs, instead of one that just strikes your fancy at first glance.

Check Out The Apartment Building
In addition to examining the condition of the rental apartment, walk through the property to see whether the apartment block appears to be well-maintained. Does it look well maintained? Are any windows, steps or railings broken or dangerous? Do the access doors open easily and shut tightly?

Check Out The Location
Would you be happy living in this area?

Examine The Rental Agreement
A rental agreement is a legal obligation to pay rent for a specified length of time, and every agreement has variations on the terms and conditions of tenancy. How much notice must you give before moving at the end of the rental term? Can the rent be increased? Are pets allowed? What provisions cover your deposit and end-of-rental cleaning costs? If the terms of the rental agreement doesn’t suit your needs, negotiate or reconsider renting the apartment.

Consider Security
Does the building have controlled access? Does your individual apartment have secure door locks? Does the building have a security service?

Ask About Facilities
Does the building have a swimming pool? A recreation or fitness room? Tennis courts? Laundry facilities? Who is allowed to use those facilities and during what hours?

Ask About Utility Costs
What do you pay for? Some landlords include water rates in the rental price and some don’t.

Take Notes
Before you move in, document the condition of your apartment and make note of any nonfunctioning doors or windows, leaking plumbing, missing fixtures, stained carpets and so on. Ask your landlord to initial a copy of your documentation to prevent disputes when you eventually move out.

Don’t Be Afriad To Ask Questions
Your landlord or rental agency should be able to answer any concerns you have.

Remember When You Leave To Get A Reference
A landlord or rental agency will often provide this free of charge if the apartment is returned in good condition.