Starting a tenancy
Direction for landlords and tenants regarding rent and financial distress due to COVID-19 is available on the CBS website.
Both tenants and landlords have legal responsibilities. This applies whether the landlord manages a rental property themselves or employs an agent to manage it for them.
Anyone employed by a land agent who manages residential properties must complete specific training and be registered.
Choosing a suitable tenant
A landlord has the right to choose a suitable tenant but it is against the law to make this decision based on personal characteristics.
Read what these characteristics include and exceptions to the law on the Equal Opportunity Commission website.
Rental application form
Prospective tenants can be asked to complete a rental application form, which usually requests information about their:
- contact details
- likely occupants, such as a partner and children
- previous rental details and reason for moving
- length of time they plan to rent.
A personal or professional reference can help the landlord decide if someone doesn’t have a rental history.
Questions that could be asked about rental history are:
- did they pay rent on time
- did they keep the property clean
- did they do any damage to the property
- were there problems with noise or disputes with neighbours
- would they rent to the tenant again.
Consumer and Business Services doesn’t provide this form.
By law, the landlord must give the tenant this information at the start of the tenancy:
- Information brochure – general rights and obligations of landlords and tenants
- Section 48 notice – landlord/agent contact details
- Lease agreement – outlines details of the fixed or periodic tenancy
- Inspection sheets – record of the property condition at start and end.
The landlord must also:
The tenant must meet all conditions in the lease agreement and at the start of the tenancy:
- pay bond and start making regular rent payments
- fill in the inspection sheets
- notify the landlord of any repairs or maintenance.
The landlord arranges insurance for the property. Some insurance companies offer packages specifically for landlords.
The tenant arranges contents insurance for their personal belongings. Tenants should check exactly what their insurance covers.
If a tenant causes damage to the property the landlord doesn’t have to make an insurance claim for the repair.