Problems with landlords and tenancy issues
Napier CAB manager Jenny Pearce
At the Napier Citizens Advice Bureau, a common problem area where we are asked for help involves tenancy agreements and, in particular, landlords not giving notice and turning up at properties unannounced. The following are the sorts of questions we might get asked and the answers we may give.
Where do I stand? My landlord turned up at the property unannounced and informed me that I need to move out as the property has been sold.
Using the CAB website, the client was given information from the tenancy website where it states that if a house is rented on a periodic tenancy, a landlord must give the tenant 90 days' notice to end the tenancy. If the landlord fails to do this in time, they may not be able to provide the buyer with a vacant house and they could have to pay compensation to you, the tenant.
If the property is rented on a fixed-term tenancy, then the landlord can sell the house with the tenant remaining so the buyer simply becomes their new landlord, or ask the tenant if they agree to end the fixed-term tenancy early so the house will be vacant by the settlement date. You do not have to agree.
Follow this link on our website www.cab.org.nz for more information and type in this number in the search bar. KB00039650.
What is vacant possession in relation to selling a house?
The landlord also should have told the tenant in writing that the house was going to be sold and the landlord must get permission from the tenant before just turning up.
My landlord only gave me one hours' notice before a property inspection. Is this allowed?
Landlords need to come inside a property at times, but they need to give at least 24 hours' notice if it relates to maintenance or repairs or 48 hours' notice if it is for a property inspection. Also, the maximum frequency for inspections is once every four weeks. The tenant does not have to be present, but you should be asked if you want to be. Landlords are allowed onto the site of the house as they are often responsible for maintaining the outside and the gardens. The tenancy website says that the landlord has to avoid interfering with the tenant's peace, comfort and privacy. It is helpful if you, the tenant has had a conversation about this with the landlord so there are no surprises. Only in an emergency can a landlord enter your property without notice or with an order from the Tenancy Tribunal. Follow the link on our website www.cab.org.nz for more information and type in this number in the search bar. KB00001262.
My landlord only gave me one hour's notice before a property inspection. Is this allowed? What can I do when and if things go wrong?
When problems like the above arise, it's best for you to talk to the landlord in person or on the phone. Follow up with letter or text confirming the conversation. If nothing happens, contact the landlord again. Keep copies of all letters or notes you send to the landlord or receive from them. In this way, the problems may be clarified and sorted. If this doesn't work, you can try to resolve things by going to mediation or making an application to the Tenancy Tribunal. If you decide you want to move out continue to pay rent and give the proper notice. Follow the link on our website www.cab.org.nz for more information and type in these numbers in the search bar. KB00001351 - what is the best way to resolve a dispute with my landlord? KB00001331 - What does the Tenancy Tribunal do?
• You can also seek help by talking to us at the Napier Citizens Advice Bureau, Bower House, Bower St (by the Warehouse). We are open Monday to Friday, 9am-4pm, or phone (06) 8359664, call free on 0800 367222 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org
No appointment is necessary. We are here to help and confidentiality is assured.