Accommodation information

Finding a Flat

Here is a list of all the different websites you can visit to help you find a place to rent:

Check out the main notice boards around campus and you can also look up the places to rent/ to let/ flatmates wanted ads in the local newspaper, the Manawatu Evening Standard. The newspaper is available Monday to Saturday, however the best days to look for ads are Wednesday and Saturday.

Massey University Students’ Association (MUSA) owns about 40 properties that are rented out to students. To find out further information about them, contact the property Manager Dave Faulkener at Property Brokers, 238 Broadway Avenue Palmerston North, Phone 06 355 5595.

Looking at a flat

Once you have found a few suitable properties to look at you should ask the landlord the following questions:

1.When is the property available?

2.Is it a fixed-term tenancy or a periodic tenancy? (See below for further information on the different types of tenancy agreements)

3.How much is the rent?

4.How much bond is required?

5.Is the property fully furnished?

6.What whiteware (e.g. washing machine, refrigerator, microwave, etc) is included?

7.Is it close to transport? Shops? University?

8.How many people are allowed to live in the property?

9.Will you need a Flat/House sharing agreement?

10.Does the property get morning or afternoon sun?

11.Is the property energy efficient?

12.How secure is the property?Are there deadlocks or an alarm?

13.Who is responsible for mowing the lawn?

14.Is there a garage or on-street parking available?

15.Is it OK to smoke inside?

16.Are pets allowed?

17.What’s the neighbourhood like?

18.Does the landlord have any references?

Selecting a Flat

Once you have chosen a preferred flat you may be asked to complete a pre tenancy application form, which asks for your contact details, previous landlord details and references.The landlord may also ask for consent to have reference and credit checks completed on you.You can also ask the landlord for references from previous tenants.

Tenancy Agreements, Follow up Questions and Inspecting the Property

If you are offered the flat, you will need to meet with the landlord to discuss the terms of the tenancy agreement and also conduct a thorough property inspection together.The tenancy agreement records contact details for both the landlord and the tenant.It also sets out the terms of the tenancy (e.g. amount of rent, amount of bond, the date the tenancy begins, maximum number of occupants), and the other terms the landlord and tenant agree on, as long as they do not breach the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.

When you meet with the landlord you should ask some follow-up questions, such as:

1.What is the best way to contact the landlord?

2.Is there someone else that can be contacted in the event of an emergency?

3.How often will the landlord conduct property inspections?

4.Is any routine maintenance done on the property?

5.Do they have details of preferred tradespeople?Can you contact them directly if needed?

6.When is rubbish and recycling collected?

After discussing the terms of the tenancy and having all your questions answered, you then should go through the property with the landlord and note any damage on the property inspection report. Things you should check and make sure are working properly are:

  • All taps and plumbing (e.g. Shower, toilets)
  • Lights
  • Appliances (including oven, dishwasher and washing machine)
  • All windows open and shut properly in each room
  • The location of the smoke alarm and fire extinguisher
  • The nearest fire exit
  • Any holes or markings on the walls, floors and ceiling of each room

Your responsibility as a tenant includes:

  1. Keeping the property reasonably clean and tidy
  2. Paying the rent and bills on time
  3. Advising the landlord of any maintenance or repairs needed as soon as possible. The landlord may advise you when they plan on doing a property inspection

The law requires your landlord to:

  1. Give at least 48 hours notice before an inspection
  2. Inspect only once in any four week period
  3. Give 24 hours notice before entering the property for maintenance or repairs

Once you have all completed the property inspection report and agree to the terms of the tenancy, you then can sign the tenancy agreement.

Rental Payments

When paying rent you may like to set up an automatic payment.An automatic payment is where your rent will go directly into the landlords account.This will ensure you never miss a payment.It is also a good idea to keep all your bank statements as a record of your rent payments.

Bond

The landlord can legally ask for up to four weeks rent as bond and no more than 2 weeks rent in advance( if the rent is to be paid every week, the landlord can only ask for 1 week in advance).The bond must be submitted to the Department of Building and Housing who will hold the bond until the end of the tenancy.Once you pay the rent in advance and the bond and the bond gets lodge with Department of Building and Housing your landlord should send you a receipt as well as a copy of the signed tenancy agreement.About two weeks after you move into the property you should get a bond acknowledgement letter from the Department of Building and Housing advising that the bond has been lodged. The bond will be refunded; as long as you pay the rent owed and do not damage the property.

Insurance

Always find out about insurance for your property!In most cases the landlords insurance will cover the property, but you will need a contents insurance policy to protect your belongings and also cover any personal liability.You can contact the Department of Housing for more information or any insurance companies.

What do you need to know about tenancy agreements?

First up, if you pay rent, you need a tenancy agreement. This is a legal document that explains your rights and responsibilities and spells out exactly what you have agreed with the landlord. Remember the law applies even if you don’t have a lease, so there’s no way round it.

There are two types of tenancies, periodic and fixed term - you need to know the difference and understand which you are signing.

  • Periodic: This type of agreement does not have any end date, so either you or the landlord can give notice - you can give 21 days notice, the landlord has to give 90 days notice (or 42 days if the house has been sold or a member of their family is moving in). The advantage of this lease is you can move out at the end of the academic year and have no further rental commitments. The bad news is most landlords prefer fixed term leases!
  • Fixed Term: This tenancy type specifies the date when the tenancy will end - in most cases this will be 12 months from when you sign up. This means if you sign up after exams, you will stop paying rent after exams next year, however if you sign up in February you will have to pay until the following February - even if you spend the Summer at home or move out after exams. This is a legal commitment you make, and no amount of excuses will save you from having to pay your rent. The good thing about a fixed term tenancy is that the landlord must make the house available for the whole of the lease period - they cannot ask you to move out earlier.

Other stuff you need to know about tenancy agreements:

  • The rent can go up, but the landlord has to give 60 days notice, it can only go up once every six months, and it must still be a reasonable amount for the market.
  • The landlord must allow you to peacefully enjoy the property and your privacy. They must give you 24 hours notice to carry out repairs or maintenance, and 48 hours notice if they are coming to inspect the place. Even for emergencies the landlord must still ask for permission to enter the premises, though the notice may be waived.
  • The landlord cannot ask you for more than two weeks rent in advance.
  • The landlord must give you a receipt if you pay your rent in cash
  • You should complete a property inspection report at the start and end of every tenancy. This allows you and the landlord to agree on the state of the property so there is no dispute when you try to get your bond back. Note any items that are broken, damaged or missing.

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