Tenants Frequently Asked Questions

Tenants Frequently Asked Questions





What do I need to do to rent/apply for a property?

Tenancy Application Form. Make your application on the form provided. This will supply us with all the necessary personal and employment details needed, as well as describe the type of home you're looking for, the price range, and the location.

Most forms include a Privacy Statement that explains what information is being sought and why. This form may also enable the agent to seek information from past landlords and agencies about your rental and credit history. Because you are wanting to rent a valuable asset, which will become your home, it is important that your needs be matched to the property most suited to both parties needs.

To complete processing your application we will also require a photo I.D. You can email this through with your application.

References and Testimonials to Fast Track your Application
 You will be required to supply References or/and Testimonials from past landlords, so it is advisable to have these ready, preferably in writing, so that your Application can be fast tracked. Your application form requests contact details for some of these references so we can often verify references quicker on the telephone, meaning that there is often no need for written references.

References are particularly important in a buoyant market. If you have great references this can often make the difference in you securing the property before any one else does.

How much money will I need to pay when I rent a property?

Generally you will need to pay one weeks rent payable as a Letting Fee (plus GST). You will also be required to pay a minimum of one weeks rent in advance, plus three weeks rent as Bond. This generally needs to be paid in full prior to you moving into the property. A minimum deposit of one weeks rent and the letting fee must be made upon signing of the agreement and the balance can be paid when picking up the keys on the day you move in.

How do I find a property to rent?

You can view our available rental properties here. Newspapers, Signs, For Rent lists, Internet sites are also good sources. Most tenants utilise the paper or internet to find a property which suits their needs, then they call the agent.

For Rent signs are also useful, as are Lists of Properties For Rent available through agents' offices. You can obtain these in person, by fax or email. Properties For Rent may also be located on the internet.

Telephone the agent concerned to obtain more information. Most advertisements will confirm the address so you may "drive by" to view from the outside. If the type of property and location suits then phone the agent to arrange a viewing. All properties must be viewed prior to making an application. This can be done by appointment only or possibly through an Open Home. Try to have all the parties making the decision, to inspect together at the same time, otherwise you could miss out on the property.

What documentation will I need to complete to secure my tenancy?

Tenancy Agreement. Once you have been accepted for a tenancy an agent will request that you sign a Tenancy Agreement within 24 hours.

Note: You will need to complete an Application Form first in order to apply for the property. The Tenancy Agreement confirms information about the property: the address, the Full Names of the Tenant/s, Address for Service, the term of the tenancy (Periodic—not for any fixed period; or Fixed Term—for a stated period), when the tenancy starts, the frequency and amount of the rent payable, and how the rent shall be paid (usually by automatic payment from your bank to the agent's Trust account).

This document also includes the Terms under which you are agreeing to rent the property. Read the Tenancy Agreement carefully. Included will also be any chattels, and special conditions. A copy of your Tenancy Agreement will be provided to you.

What happens if I miss a rent payment?

You should call your property manager immediately. Don't wait for them to call you. Advise them of your course of action to remedy any missed payment. Any missed payment is a breach in your Tenancy Agreement and your property manager will immediately take action to follow up and enforce the payment of any missed rents. This will include termination of the tenancy and any required debt collection enforcement which may effect your ability to rent a property elsewhere. But by communicating any issues your property manager promptly they may work with you to arrange a plan to remedy any breach.

What's the difference between a Periodic Tenancy and a Fixed Term Tenancy?

A Periodic Tenancy is one where there is no fixed termination date, and the agreement runs on until the tenant or the landlord give lawful notice to terminate.

A Fixed Term Tenancy is for a specific term, for example, one year. It has a start date, and an end date which are both noted on the Tenancy agreement. More and more landlords are offering their property for rent on a Fixed Term basis. There are benefits to tenants and landlords for Fixed Term Tenancies. The main benefit is the security of a long term tenancy which can not be terminated by either party giving notice.

When do I actually have an Agreement?

After the Property Manager has received all your information, (i.e. Application Form, Testimonials, and Offer to Rent) and has checked your references, he/she will be in contact with you regarding whether your offer to rent has been accepted. They will then arrange a time to meet to complete a Tenancy Agreement. Once a Tenancy Agreement has been completed your tenancy is in place and the rules and regulations of the Residential Tenancies Act apply.

Once the agreement has been completed and the stated amount of Rent, Bond and Letting fee has been paid, you can move into the property on the nominated start date.

What happens if my application to rent is declined?

It is possible that your application to rent a property may be declined. If this is the case then you may not have met the criteria set by the owner, in which case you will need to look for another property. If your application is declined it will be destroyed by Astute Property Management to protect your privacy.

Do I have to pay GST?

You only pay GST on the agent's letting fee and not on rent or bond.

What are my obligations when I rent a property?

Your Tenancy Agreement outlines the main points regarding your tenancy, but you also have additional obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act.

You must take reasonable care of the property, keep it clean and tidy, especially when you vacate. You must take steps to ensure that no damage to the property is made by your or visitors. We recommend that you watch our Tenant Introduction Video and download ourTenants Handbook for further information.

Some Tenancy Agreements have special clauses in them which you need to abide by (for example, no pets allowed, the tenant shall maintain the lawns and gardens). Please consult your agreement for confirmation or contact your property manager if you need clarification on what you need to do.

What happens if I breach my Tenancy Agreement?

Your landlord is required to issue you with a '10 day Notice to Remedy'. This is a requirement of the Residential Tenancies Act. This breach may be due to a tenant not paying the rent/water rates or other breaches such as non satisfactory presentation of the property. If you fail to remedy the breach within the required time frame then your property manager may make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal in order to terminate your tenancy.

What do I do if something breaks or needs repairing?

Landlords are obligated to attend to various maintenance issues. Email or call your property manager to ask for advice as to whether the problem is one which you need to make good at your cost, or whether it's the landlord's responsibility. Communication is the key. The quicker you report any issues to your property manager the quicker they will be addressed.

Emergency repairs and maintenance include anything relating to power, security, water and sewerage and you need to contact your property manager urgently regarding these items. Urgent repairs may include broken locks, and other items which mean the property is not secure. If you experience these problems after hours and can't get hold of your property manager then it is recommended that you take as many steps to reduce the problem as possible. For example, if it is a water leak then turn off the water.

Regular repairs and maintenance refers to items that do not cause any real damage in the shorter term but are annoying and inconvenient.. These may include stove elements that are not working, and leaking taps and toilets. If you report these issues after hours they may not be organised until the next working day. However, these regular maintenance issues are not urgent so will not cause any further damage. Generally your property manager will arrange a tradesman to contact you direct to arrange a time to complete the work. Note that if you arrange to meet a tradesman but do not turn up to your appointment you may be charged the tradesman's call out charge.

What do I do if I want to move out of a property?

Periodic Tenancies (no fixed term)
 For Periodic Tenancies you are required to give no less than 21 days Notice in writing. The effective date, is the date upon which the agent receives this notice.

Fixed Term Tenancies (for a fixed period)
 Normally your tenancy start and end dates are specified on the Tenancy Agreement and you will be responsible for paying the rent during the total period. However if you find that you need to move out, AND if your agent can re let the property, on the same terms and conditions, you may be allowed to cease your tenancy agreement in favour of the new one. If there is any short fall in rent you will be obliged to pay this. Your property manager will generally release you from a Fixed Term tenancy when they have found a suitable replacement tenant.

How do I get my bond back?

Ensure that you have left the property in a clean and tidy condition and as per the requirements of your Tenancy Agreement. This generally means that there should be no rubbish lying around with the gardens and lawns neat. Internally the walls, doors, windows and ledges, kitchen and bathroom should be clean, and carpets commercially cleaned also. If in doubt check with your property manager.

Damage
 If you have caused any damage you need to have this repaired at your cost, to a good standard. For any outstanding damage which is considered to be your responsibility, and that has not been repaired by you, an Application may be made to the Tenancy Tribunal to request payment of your bond to the landlord to cover any damages. Sometimes damages may be awarded against a tenant, in excess of the bond money held.

Rent Arrears
 Ensure there is no overdue rent, water or other debts owing from your tenancy.

Bond Inspection
 Your property manager will carry out a bond inspection. This will be done soon after you have vacated the property and the keys have been returned. (Astute Property Management requires keys to be returned by 12 noon on the termination date.)

Bond Refund
 If the inspection is satisfactory, your property manager will complete the paperwork and send off the application for a Bond Refund to Tenancy Services.

What happens if the owner wants to sell or move back in the property?

If you have a Periodic Tenancy (no fixed term) the landlord must give you 42 days notice in writing, to vacate.

If you have a Fixed Term tenancy the landlord can not issue notice to terminate your tenancy. They may sell the property subject to your existing tenancy. That means that you can stay in the property, while the owner may change. Agreements can be terminated or changed upon agreement of both parties.

When selling, the landlord must advise you in writing that the property is on the market. When the property is on the market, you must be given reasonable notice for buyers to inspect. As the tenant you are also obliged to provide reasonable access for those inspections.

Can I bring in other tenants to help pay the rent?

The only persons who are lawfully able to occupy the property you are renting, are those either named or provided for on the Tenancy agreement. Sometimes they will be named, or the agreement will only name one or two tenants but the agreement will also provide for a certain number of occupants.

The person named on the agreement is the lawful tenant and the other occupants (as noted above) are considered flatmates.

Sub letting the premises or Varying the Tenancy Agreement: You are not able to sub let the premises without written consent from the owner.

If you wish to move out and a friend or other occupier wishes to stay in the property, most owners will require a new Tenancy agreement, together with updated Application forms and references. Under these circumstances a letting fee may be charged.

What if I feel I'm being treated unfairly?

In the first instance, try to discuss the matter thoroughly to see each party's point of view. Talk to your property manager about your concerns. If you are unable to reach a resolution on an important matter, you can contact Tenancy Services for advice and arrange for a mediated meeting.

This is known as Mediation and is available at either party's request.

What is my obligation regarding landlord inspections?

Landlords and their agents are required to give you 48 hours notice of their intention to enter the property or 24 hours for maintenance.. For most general maintenance inspections (generally six monthly or yearly) your property manager will usually give you at least a weeks notice.

The only exception to this is when the property is for rent or on the market, and in these circumstances you must be given reasonable notice at all times. You are not required to be present during inspections as your property manager will have a key.

For more information on renting and general tenancy advice visit Tenancy Services website.

Do I need insurance?

If you want your possessions insured against theft or damage then YES all tenants should arrange their own insurance cover. If you have personal insurance this will generally also cover a "liability" insurance which will protect you if you in case by accident you have a fire and cause damage. The owner of the property should have insurance for the actual property but this will be limited and will not generally cover tenants liability or possessions. There are various insurance companies you can contact for quotes and you should ensure that you get the right advice and policy to meet your requirements.

What happens if I have no power or blow a fuse?

You should check your fuse box on the property to make sure a fuse hasn’t blown due to a switch overloading. This can happen if too many appliances are plugged in to one socket, and if a fuse has blown then re-set the fuse. If you have the old individual  porcelain type "plug in" fuses, you should check to see if the wire needs replacing and make sure that the right ampage is used. For instructions on replacing this type of fuse, please go to How to replace a porcelain fuse.

Alternatively, if you have more modern switch fuses you should check all switches and if need be, flick the switch to re-set the fuse. If this does not work then call your power company ASAP to determine if there is a problem with power in the area. Talk to any neighbours to make sure they still have power so you can provide your property manager with all the relevant info including whether it is a problem unique to your property and exactly which power points, rooms or light fittings don’t have power. Make sure that you check that it is not an appliance that is faulty and you can do this by checking multiple power points.

What happens if I have no phone or internet?

Check all phone jacks and connections in the property (by plugging in a phone) to determine if it is a problem with an individual connection point or if all telecommunication services to the property have been affected. If there is no connection to the entire telecomunication network you should call your service provider to check if there are problems affecting your region. Update your property manager if it is a problem specific to your property. Internet can cease for many reasons including bad weather, accidents in your neighbourhood or bills not being paid.

What happens if I have no hot water?

If you have just moved in check that your hot water cylinder is turned on at the unit (usually next to it) and that you have power to operate the cylinder. Check the hot water switch/fuse at the switchboard to ensure that it is also turned on there. If a fuse has blown see "what happens if I have no power" and remedy this problem. Sometimes cylinders may take up to five hours to heat water but you should feel it warming within a couple of hours. Make sure that the hot water cylinder is not leaking or visibly damaged and if it is contact your property manager ASAP. If you have gas then a gas connection is required to ensure gas heating is operating. If you have a gas unit or cylinder make sure that gas is flowing and check with your supplier. Check the pilot light if you have an instantaneous hot water system. If you still can't solve this problem contact your property manager ASAP.

What happens if I have a blocked sink, drain or toilet?

The majority of blocked sinks and toilets are as a result of a blockage caused by tenants. In sinks/vanities this is often caused by fats, foods and soaps blocking the drains. You should avoid washing any fats and food waste down any drain (unless you have a WasteMaster/InSinkErator). If your WasteMaster is not working try the overload switch. Pouring boiling water or specialist "drain unblocking" products such as 'Draino' ( available from supermarkets and handyman stores) down wastes will often assist to disburse any blocked wastes. A plunger is a good tool to have at any property and nine times out of ten a plunger will assist to fix the blockage. Toilets are commonly blocked due to too much paper or other items being flushed down. Be careful with what you flush down your toilet and avoid flushing nappies, tampons, and pads. Again a plunger is a great tool that can often help unblock many toilet blockages. Shower wastes can also block as a result of soap suds and hair that combines to block the waste pipes. Clean your drains regularly to remove this debris. If you can't fix a blockage then purchase a product like 'Draino' and follow the instructions on the bottle. Usually these products will disburse any blockage and avoid costly plumbers bills. If a plumber attends they will always try to identify the cause of any block and if foods, fats, soaps and hair etc has been identified as the cause then you may be on-charged the bill. If you have an exterior drain then you should regularly ensure that all leaves and debris are swept up to avoid any blockages. If you cannot unblock a sink, shower, toilet or drain contact your property manager who will help arrange a tradesman.

What happens if my stove, oven or cook top is not working?

Check that you have power to the rest of the room and carefully check individual isolating switches (usually located next to the appliance or nearest power point). Also check the fuse board to make sure a fuse hasn’t blown (see above "no power or a blown fuse") and if so reset the fuse. Sometimes on older stoves/ovens the timer function may affect the stoves ability to operate. If the timer is not set some stoves will not operate. Try re-setting the timer function.

Why is my alarm or smoke alarm beeping?

This is often a sign that the batteries or back up batteries need replacing. You should contact your property manager immediately.

What happens if a tradesman arranges to fix a problem?

Your property manager may arrange a tradesman and provide your contact number for access. If you make an appointment with a tradesman and you don’t turn up then it is likely you will be charged the tradesman’s call out fee. Please ensure that if you arrange to meet a tradesman or tell them someone is home that you make sure you stick to the arrangement and ensure that access is granted.

What happens if I lose my keys?

Your property manager will always have a spare key to your property. You can contact them to arrange to borrow a key and cut a copy. Please note that it is a breach of the Tenancy Agreement to change the locks without the landlords approval. However, if you have to change a lock in an emergency then usually your property manager will understand if you contact them and provide new sets of keys immediately. Often multiple sets will be required so that your property manager can provide the owner with new sets.

What happens if I stain the carpet or cause accidental damage?

You should update your property manager immediately. You should take steps to reduce any damage an an example of this is getting the carpets commercially cleaned ASAP. You should fix any holes in walls immediately but contact your property manager before doing any painting and redecorating of your property which is also a breach in the Tenancy Agreement.

What if I want to get a pet?

Your Tenancy Agreement usually prohibits any pets without the written consent of the landlord. Contact your property manager for authorisation prior to acquiring any pets as this may be a breach in your Tenancy Agreement.

What if more residents want to move in?

Your Tenancy Agreement will confirm how many permanent residents may reside in the property as part of the conditions of your tenancy. Any excess residents above that stated on the agreement is a breach. You should contact your property manager who can often negotiate to have an extra resident listed for a property. Sometimes this may mean a very slight increase in rent to account for items such as increased wear and tear/depreciation or an increase in water charges.

What happens if the smoke detectors or the garage or gate remotes are not working?

Check the batteries and replace with news ones prior to contacting your property manager.

What happens if my WasteMaster/InSinkErator is not working?

Check that it is not obstructed (turn off power switch prior to putting hands/fingers down). Also check the safety re-set switch usually located at the base. Blockages in kitchen waste disposal units can be easily avoided:

• Use plenty of cold water when flushing through food scraps, and run it for a little longer after the scraps have disappeared.

• Only grind food scraps, however there are a few exceptions: don’t grind extremely fibrous food scraps like corn husks, celery stalks and onion skins as these can tangle and jam the garbage disposal motor as well as block the drain; uncooked meat can also get stuck and cause unpleasant odours; foods such as rice, pasta, potato peels and coffee grinds can also clog the drain.

• Don’t pour oil or fat into the disposal unit as this can accumulate over time and block the drain.

• To clean the unit, grind some ice cubes and salt a couple of times a month – it will be a bit noisy but will clean all those hard to reach places.

• Pop some lemon peel through occasionally to keep it smelling fresh.

• For strong odours and slow running drains, sprinkle half a cup of baking soda down the drain, then pour in a cup of white vinegar (it will fizz).

Let it sit for a few minutes, then run the disposal unit with hot water.

What happens if I have a water leak?

If the leak is from a toilet cistern you may be able to turn the inlet valve off.  For other leaks turn the water mains off ASAP at the meter if you need to temporarily stop the water flow. Contact your property manager ASAP.

What happens if I have a big flea infestation?

You should spray infected areas with an appropriate spray. Vacuum regularly and re-apply the spray if required. If problems persist contact your property manager.

Why should I leave doors and windows open regularly?

You should open doors and windows regularly to ensure adequate air flow. This helps reduce mould and moisture. Be careful that doors and windows don’t swing in the wind as if they are damaged, you may have to rectify any damage.

How to remove stains and scuff marks from walls and other surfaces

If you have scuff marks, scratches or stubborn stains on walls, doors or other surfaces there are specialist products such as Magic Sponges that will assist you to remove many marks with little effort or damage. These are fantastic products that will help get rid of most scuff marks and variations of these products are available from all leading supermarkets and home depot stores. Products such as these will help reduce the amount of marks and scratches left on surfaces and help ensure minimal damage in order to help ensure great presentation and prompt bond refunds.


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