Christchurch property maintenance guide part 3: Your rights when the property is rented out
 
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You have a fantastic Christchurch rental property in great condition and you have kindly let another person live in it. Of course they will treat it with the love and respect that they would if it were their own home…right?

If only being a landlord was that easy. If only every time a new tenant left, there would be another one waiting to fill your home and treat it with the respect and tender love and care it deserves. Unfortunately, the realities of being a landlord are not so simple – and while there are tenants in your home, there will be some level of wear and tear. The other important consideration is that there are strict rules about when, where and how you can enter a property, even if you are fixing their damage, accidental or otherwise.

To catch up on what your obligations are, and what you can do before tenants move in to reduce that wear and tear, check out our previous two blog posts here and here.

Bringing in a professional maintenance contractor? Remember safety first!

If the maintenance work you need completed requires bringing in a contractor, be it anyone from a gardener to a plumber – make sure you have considered the safety requirements. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is running the Worksafe program to reduce the number of construction related injuries and deaths in New Zealand. Before giving the OK to a change in your Christchurch property make sure you have thought about safety, taken the appropriate steps in put it all in writing in the contract. See Worksafe for more information.

Know when you’re allowed to enter your Christchurch property

Although you own the house, the tenants living must be respected, as they are the legal occupants. By renting it out, you’ve handed over your legal right to enter any time. That doesn’t mean you can’t enter at all, though. As the landlord, only enter the property with consent from the tenant, or if you give 48 hours’ notice to inspect the property.

However, you cannot have ‘inspections’ more than once every four weeks, and they can only be between the hours of 8am and 7pm (the landlord can come onto the section without giving notice, but must respect the tenant’s privacy). When it comes to repairs, you must give 24 hours’ notice to do repairs and do them between the hours of 8am and 7pm.

No consent or notice to enter is needed in an emergency. Landlords can come onto the grounds or facilities of the property without the tenants’ consent but must refrain from unreasonably interfering with the tenants’ peace, comfort and privacy.

Respecting the right to peace, comfort and privacy

As a landlord, it is important to respect your tenants’ rights to peace, comfort and privacy. But what if they aren’t respecting those rights for the neighbours? Often, if they don’t heed complaints, you’ll be the one they call. So what steps can be taken when the surrounding community has filed complaints to you about your tenants?

When tenants have breached their obligation to respect the quiet enjoyment of the neighbourhood, they may be issued with a notice to remedy. This does not mean the tenants must be removed from the premises, but will address their behavior and let them know their ability to reside in your property is at risk to living. If the issue is large enough or if is ongoing, the landlord has a right to take it further and contact the Tenancy Tribunal.

If you are new to your role as a Christchurch landlord then Cowdy & Co. are here to manage these issues for you. Making sure you know all the rights, obligations and processes in advance will help keep your relationship with your tenants smooth and professional and avoid problems escalating. Get familiar with all of the information available on the Department of Building and Housing website, the citizens advice bureau, and the Tenancy Tribunal. If it all seems too much to handle, don’t worry! At Cowdy, we can handle all your tenant relations, from maintenance to finding tenants to fill your property. Don’t hesitate to get in contact if you’d like to know more.

Check out the rest of our Property Maintenance tips, and stay tuned for our next post with maintenance tips and tricks you can implement on an ongoing basis!

How to maintain a rental property Part 1: Knowing your obligations

How to maintain a rental property Part 2: Before the tenants move in