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New Zealand - Renting Property
Although native Kiwis prefer to buy properties, the home ownership rate in the country has reduced while the rate of renting apartments has increased. Auckland has become a popular city to live in with some New Zealanders buying beach properties but renting apartments in the city. It is important to inquire about the availability of rental properties in New Zealand as well as their prices before moving into the country. It is common to find expats living in motels and serviced apartments.
You can choose to either rent a furnished or unfurnished apartment. Furnished apartments come with not only utilities but also furniture. It is common for people who are staying in New Zealand temporarily to rent furnished apartments. On the other hand, unfurnished apartments are rental properties that come with basic utilities such as water and electricity but not furniture. Most rental properties are let unfurnished and often come with an oven, carpet, and curtains. Other inner city apartments come furnished or semi furnished which can be quite costly. You may rent furniture for your apartment as you give yourself time to save for furniture purchase. However, this may be quite expensive.
You can search for properties to let in newspaper classifieds, through real estate agents, or on the internet. Be sure to go for a viewing as soon as you find a rental property that suits your taste. Never rent any property without checking it out first. Property owners and agents in New Zealand tend to exaggerate in their descriptions of properties.
You can make arrangements to rent a house before you travel to New Zealand. Travel agencies and immigration consultants can make such arrangements for you. However, the agencies and consultants often charge a high fee for their services. In addition, most rental properties matched through agents are expensive. The downside of renting from abroad is it becomes difficult to have a clear picture of the house and its location. Something that might look ideal on a map might turn out to be inconvenient once you are in the area.
Tenants are expected to sign a tenancy agreement. The Department of Building and Housing provides a standard agreement template for tenants and property owners. You can sign the agreement once you are satisfied with its details and terms. However to be on the safe side you should have the agreement checked out by a lawyer to avoid falling prey to unfavorable hidden clauses.
Many people do not seek the services of lawyers before signing their rental property contracts because the terms and conditions are usually straightforward. The agreement is valid until notice is given by either the property owner or tenant. A tenant is required to give notice of 21 days whereas a property owner needs to give 90 days’ notice except in exceptional cases. If the property owner wants to move into the property, they are required to give a 42-day notice. Some tenancy agreements have a fixed time limit after which the tenant and propery owner can extend the contract.
Tenants are expected to pay a deposit before moving into a rental property. The deposit is usually the equivalent of a month’s rent. The bond or deposit is held by the Bond Processing Unit of the Tenancy Services Center under the Department of Building and Housing. The property owner is required to pay the bond to the unit within 23 working days after receiving it. The Bond Processing Unit refunds the bond to the property owner at the end of the contract period. If the tenant has caused damage to the rental property, the cost of repairs will be deducted from the bond. Rent in New Zealand is paid every two weeks. The property owner is expected to pay home insurance and property taxes. You may have to take out separate insurance cover for your belongings because they may not be covered under the property owner’s insurance plans.
If you disagree with the property owner about certain issues in the contract, the Tenancy Services center can brief you on your rights and responsibilities and help to resolve the dispute. A common cause of dispute between property owners and tenants is failure to pay rent within the stipulated time or date, issues with neighbors especially if you live in apartment units, or poor maintenance of the property. Many people are not aware that property owners are required by law to maintain their premises.
Rental costs vary depending on the area and the space. Rental properties in Auckland cost more than those in Wellington. The rent paid in the rest of the country is very different. In the two main cities, the rent is higher because demand is higher. In addition, the two cities have a higher cost of living. The average rent in the two cities is around 200 dollars per week. This rate has remained relatively constant for many years.
Some of the factors that influence the cost of renting a house include the size of the property and available facilities. In cheaper areas like Rotorua and Dunedin, you can pay 150 NZD weekly for a two bedroom unfurnished apartment. In the central areas of Auckland and Wellington, you may pay 350 to 500 dollars for a two-bedroom unfurnished apartment. A three-bedroom house in Dunedin costs 200 dollars per week, while the rental costs for apartments in central parts of Auckland ranges between 450 and 650 NZD.
If you want a property with a view of the sea, prepare to spend 50 percent more especially in Auckland. The common term for renting properties is usually twelve months, but those who charge higher rents usually lease them on a short-term basis of about six months.
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