Landlord Obligations & Rights

For your information we have added some portions of the Residential Tenancies Act that we wish to inform you about. These are common areas that are commonly misunderstood, or are not aware of.

Discrimination against tenants with children

Sec 51. (1) A person must not refuse to grant a tenancy to another on the grounds that is intended that a child should live on the premises.

Maximum penalty $1000

(2) A person must not –
(A) Instruct a person not to grant; or
(B) State an intention (by advertisement or in any other way) not to grant, a tenancy on the grounds that is intended that a child should live on the premises.

(3) However, this section does not apply if the landlord, or an agent appointed by the landlord to manage the premises, resides in the premises to which the tenancy relates or any premises adjacent to those premises

Tenant to pay only two weeks rent at the start of the tenancy

Sec 54. (1) A person must not require the payment of more than two weeks’ rent under a residential tenancy agreement before the end of the first two weeks of the tenancy.

Security at the property

Sec 66. (1) It is a term of a residential tenancy agreement that –

(A) The landlord will take reasonable steps to provide and maintain the locks and other devices that are necessary to ensure the premises are reasonably secure; and
(B) Neither the landlord nor the tenant will alter or remove a lock or security device or add a lock or security device without the consent of the other.

Providing the property clean

Sec 67. It is a term of a residential tenancy agreement that the landlord will ensure that the premises, and ancillary property, are in a reasonable state of cleanliness when the tenant goes into occupation of this premises.

Repairing the property

Sec 68. (1) It Is a term of a residential tenancy agreement that the landlord –

(A) Will ensure that the premises, and ancillary property, are in a reasonable state of repair at the beginning of the tenancy and will keep them in a reasonable state of repair having regard to their age, character and prospective life;

Allowance for reasonable wear and tear

Sec 69. (4) In deciding whether premises or other property is in reasonable condition, its condition when the tenant took possession of it, and the probable effect of reasonable wear and tear since that time, must be taken into account.

Landlord right of entry into the property

Sec 72. (1) It is a term of a Residential Tenancy Agreement that the landlord may enter the premises if (and only if)-

(A) The entry is made in an emergency; or
(B) The landlord gives the tenant written notice stating the purpose and specifying the date and time of the proposed entry not less than 7 and not more than 14 days before entering the premises; or
(C) The entry is made at a time previously arranged with the tenant (but not more frequently than once every week for the purpose of collecting the rent); or
(D) The entry is made at a time previously arranged with the tenant (but not more frequently than once every four weeks) for the purpose of inspecting the premises; or
(E) The entry is made for the purpose of carrying out necessary repairs or maintenance at a reasonable time of which the tenant has been given at least 48 hours written notice; or
(F) The Entry is made for the purpose of showing the premises to prospective tenants, at a reasonable time and on a reasonable number of occasions during the period of 28 days preceding the termination of the agreement, after giving reasonable notice to the tenant; or
(G) The entry is made for the purpose of showing the premises to prospective purchasers,at a reasonable time and on a reasonable number of occasions, after giving the tenant reasonable notice; or
(H) The entry is made with the consent of the tenant given at, or immediately before, the time of entry.

(2) This section does not apply to a part of the premises that the tenant uses in common with the landlord or another tenant of the landlord.

Breaking lease conditions – if the tenant breaks their fixed term tenancy

Please note – if a tenant breaks their fixed term lease and vacates the property. They will be required to pay rent until a new tenant takes possession (or to the end of the lease – which ever occurs first). They will also be required to pay full or part letting fee and advertising costs.

This next part of legislation deals with this area. The term ‘abandon’ simply means they vacate the property unexpectedly (eg. during a fixed term tenancy). The term ‘mitigation’ means that the landlord/agent must ‘ use their best endeavors’ to source a new tenant. ‘Compensation for any loss’ means letting and advertising costs (part or full amount – depending on how much of the tenancy remains when it is broken, and taking into account the current and any previous leases already served).

Sec 94. (1) The Tribunal may, on application by a landlord –
(A) Declare that a tenant abandoned premises on a day stated in the declaration; and
(B) Make an order for immediate possession of the premises.

(2) A tenant is taken to have abandoned the premises on the day stated in a declaration under this section.

(3) If a tenant has abandoned premises, the landlord is entitled to compensation for any loss (including loss of rent) caused by the abandonment.

(4) However, the landlord must take reasonable steps to mitigate any loss and is not entitled to compensation for loss that could have been avoided by those steps.

(5) The Tribunal may, on application by the landlord, order the tenant to pay to the landlord compensation to which the landlord is entitled under this section.

Termination of tenancy- grounds allowable

Sec 79. A residential tenancy terminates if–
(A) The tenancy is for a fixed term and if the fixed term comes to an end; or
(B) The landlord or the tenant terminates the tenancy by notice of termination given to the other (as required under this Act); or
(C) The Tribunal terminate the tenancy; or
(D) A person having title superior to the landlords title becomes entitled to possession of the premises under the order of the Tribunal or a court; or
(E) A mortgagee takes possession of the premises under a mortgage; or
(F) The tenant abandons the premises; or
(G) The tenant dies without leaving dependents in occupation of the premises; or
(H) The tenant gives up possession of the premises with the landlords consent; or
(I) The interest of the tenant merges with another estate or interest in the land; or
(J) Disclaimer of the tenancy occurs.

For your information we have added some portions of the Residential Tenancies Act that we wish to inform you about. These are common areas that are commonly misunderstood, or are not aware of.

Discrimination against tenants with children

Sec 51. (1) A person must not refuse to grant a tenancy to another on the grounds that is intended that a child should live on the premises.

Maximum penalty $1000

(2) A person must not –
(A) Instruct a person not to grant; or
(B) State an intention (by advertisement or in any other way) not to grant, a tenancy on the grounds that is intended that a child should live on the premises.

(3) However, this section does not apply if the landlord, or an agent appointed by the landlord to manage the premises, resides in the premises to which the tenancy relates or any premises adjacent to those premises

Tenant to pay only two weeks rent at the start of the tenancy

Sec 54. (1) A person must not require the payment of more than two weeks’ rent under a residential tenancy agreement before the end of the first two weeks of the tenancy.

Security at the property

Sec 66. (1) It is a term of a residential tenancy agreement that –

(A) The landlord will take reasonable steps to provide and maintain the locks and other devices that are necessary to ensure the premises are reasonably secure; and
(B) Neither the landlord nor the tenant will alter or remove a lock or security device or add a lock or security device without the consent of the other.

Providing the property clean

Sec 67. It is a term of a residential tenancy agreement that the landlord will ensure that the premises, and ancillary property, are in a reasonable state of cleanliness when the tenant goes into occupation of this premises.

Repairing the property

Sec 68. (1) It Is a term of a residential tenancy agreement that the landlord –

(A) Will ensure that the premises, and ancillary property, are in a reasonable state of repair at the beginning of the tenancy and will keep them in a reasonable state of repair having regard to their age, character and prospective life;

Allowance for reasonable wear and tear

Sec 69. (4) In deciding whether premises or other property is in reasonable condition, its condition when the tenant took possession of it, and the probable effect of reasonable wear and tear since that time, must be taken into account.

Landlord right of entry into the property

Sec 72. (1) It is a term of a Residential Tenancy Agreement that the landlord may enter the premises if (and only if)-

(A) The entry is made in an emergency; or
(B) The landlord gives the tenant written notice stating the purpose and specifying the date and time of the proposed entry not less than 7 and not more than 14 days before entering the premises; or
(C) The entry is made at a time previously arranged with the tenant (but not more frequently than once every week for the purpose of collecting the rent); or
(D) The entry is made at a time previously arranged with the tenant (but not more frequently than once every four weeks) for the purpose of inspecting the premises; or
(E) The entry is made for the purpose of carrying out necessary repairs or maintenance at a reasonable time of which the tenant has been given at least 48 hours written notice; or
(F) The Entry is made for the purpose of showing the premises to prospective tenants, at a reasonable time and on a reasonable number of occasions during the period of 28 days preceding the termination of the agreement, after giving reasonable notice to the tenant; or
(G) The entry is made for the purpose of showing the premises to prospective purchasers,at a reasonable time and on a reasonable number of occasions, after giving the tenant reasonable notice; or
(H) The entry is made with the consent of the tenant given at, or immediately before, the time of entry.

(2) This section does not apply to a part of the premises that the tenant uses in common with the landlord or another tenant of the landlord.

Breaking lease conditions – if the tenant breaks their fixed term tenancy

Please note – if a tenant breaks their fixed term lease and vacates the property. They will be required to pay rent until a new tenant takes possession (or to the end of the lease – which ever occurs first). They will also be required to pay full or part letting fee and advertising costs. This next part of legislation deals with this area. The term ‘abandon’ simply means they vacate the property unexpectedly (eg. during a fixed term tenancy). The term ‘mitigation’ means that the landlord/agent must ‘ use their best endeavors’ to source a new tenant. ‘Compensation for any loss’ means letting and advertising costs (part or full amount – depending on how much of the tenancy remains when it is broken, and taking into account the current and any previous leases already served). Sec 94. (1) The Tribunal may, on application by a landlord – (A) Declare that a tenant abandoned premises on a day stated in the declaration; and (B) Make an order for immediate possession of the premises. (2) A tenant is taken to have abandoned the premises on the day stated in a declaration under this section. (3) If a tenant has abandoned premises, the landlord is entitled to compensation for any loss (including loss of rent) caused by the abandonment. (4) However, the landlord must take reasonable steps to mitigate any loss and is not entitled to compensation for loss that could have been avoided by those steps. (5) The Tribunal may, on application by the landlord, order the tenant to pay to the landlord compensation to which the landlord is entitled under this section.

Termination of tenancy- grounds allowable

Sec 79. A residential tenancy terminates if–
(A) The tenancy is for a fixed term and if the fixed term comes to an end; or
(B) The landlord or the tenant terminates the tenancy by notice of termination given to the other (as required under this Act); or
(C) The Tribunal terminate the tenancy; or
(D) A person having title superior to the landlords title becomes entitled to possession of the premises under the order of the Tribunal or a court; or
(E) A mortgagee takes possession of the premises under a mortgage; or
(F) The tenant abandons the premises; or
(G) The tenant dies without leaving dependents in occupation of the premises; or
(H) The tenant gives up possession of the premises with the landlords consent; or
(I) The interest of the tenant merges with another estate or interest in the land; or
(J) Disclaimer of the tenancy occurs.