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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, No. 1, March 1, 1976

Tenants' Rights

page 11

Tenants' Rights

[unclear: enants] don't have many rights in New Zealand, and we aren't informed about few that do exist. Here are some you would use:-

[unclear: you] Move Into a House -

[unclear: landlord] may not demand a total [unclear: amount] of rent and bond which is more [unclear: a] one months rent altogether. "Key [unclear: they]", administration fees or any other [unclear: ments] except rent, bond and land [unclear: its] commission are illegal.

[unclear: landlord] may not refuse to let you [unclear: use] because of your race or because have children.

[unclear: en] You are Living in a House -

[unclear: if] you think the rent is too high, or landlord puts the rent up, you can [unclear: eal] to the Rent Appeal Board. You get appeal forms from a Post Office, Labour Department or the Tenants [unclear: on].

  • An appeal to the Board costs you nothing.
  • The landlord cannot evict you or you for appealing, whether or not you are successful.
  • If the appeal is successful and back-dated, you can deduct the extra money you have paid from the rent.

The landlord or his agent must [unclear: now:] you at least 24 hours notice before [unclear: sing] on to your property, he must [unclear: ae] at a reasonable time, and then only [unclear: nspect] the condition of the property. [unclear: prt] from that he has no more rights a any other person who is not [unclear: invi] and you can tell him to leave.

If the landlord will not do repairs the house, or fix the stove or washing chine, you should give him a month's [unclear: tten] notice to carry out the specif-repairs, if he doesn't fix them with-[unclear: in] month, you can deduct money from [unclear: their] rent to pay for the repairs yourself, [unclear: The] landlord can appeal against your [unclear: decision] to deduct from the rent, but cannot evict you for doing so. The [unclear: aants] Union has blank forms giving [unclear: al] notice for repairs to be carried [unclear: it].

[unclear: Then] You Leave, or the Landlord [unclear: mts] You to Leave -

Your landlord can evict you for any [unclear: reason] or none at all, but he can't tell [unclear: a] to get out just any time.

Map of Kelburn Campus

An excitingly large percentage of approx. 90 houses within the above area could be used as student flats. Only time will tell.

If you have a written agreement with the landlord, it will usually state how much notice he must give if he wants you to leave. If he does not give you the correct notice, you do not have to leave.

If you do not have a written agreement, the landlord must give you one full month's written notice to leave. If he does not give sufficient notice, of if it is not in writing, the notice is invalid and you should ignore it.

If the notice to quit is valid and yon have not left when the time is up, the landlord cannot throw you out on the street; cannot seize any of your property, or call the police or anyone else to help him evict you. He must apply to the Courts for an order to evict you. This is the only legal action he can take, and it will take him some months to get a decision - sit tight and fight.

The landlord cannot turn off your electricity, gas, water, phone or anything else, nor can he change the locks on your doors while you are out.

If you want to leave, the same rules apply to you as to your landlord - you must give him the correct amount of notice.

If the landlord holds a bond, he must return it to you when you leave, unless you have done some damage to the flat, or you are behind in the rent by the amount of the bond. When you took the flat, he should have given you a written set of conditions on which he could keep the bond. If you have not broken any of the conditions, he may not keep the bond.

If you believe the landlord will not return the bond you have paid, then simply do not pay rent for the last few weeks you are there. If he then does pay the bond, you can use it to pay him your back-rent, and will lose nothing.

The Wellington Tenants Union operates a free legal advice service for all tenants. Ring them anytime at 842-606 or write to P.O. Box 11-160, Wellington. You can also call in at 48 Aro Street between 10am and 4pm.

Photo of a two storey weatherboard house

Join the Tenants Union - you've got nothing to lose but your landlord.

The Tenants Protection Association is proud to announce it is now the Wellington Tenant's Union. The idea of a "Protection" Association was felt to be both patronising and untrue - in many cases there was nothing TPA could do to stop landlords ripping tenants off.

The Union will carry on TPA's work of giving free legal advice and support for just tenancy struggles, while pressing for changes to tenancy laws. We'll also be working to build a strong organisation within the Wellington Community, enabling tenants to co-operate in battling their landlords.

At the moment the office is receiving between 50 and 60 cases and enquiries a week. This is likely to grow to 100 a week in winter. There is an urgent need for people to help in dealing with this volume of political work. In return for the time and talent you can provide the Tenant's Union offers students of law, social science, public administration, commerce, economics, political science, reform, radicalism and revolution a unique opportunity to see how the law operates on people's day-to-day troubles, direct contact with the subjects of a "social problem" and the exhilarating experience of encountering State bureaucracy at rest.

If you want to help for 2-3 hours a week please phone us at 842-606 or call in at 48 Aro Street, between 10am and 4pm.

One young Brooklyn family arranged a meeting with their agent,, to discuss the eviction noticehad sent them.

agreed to turn up at their flat at 4p.m. on an arranged date, but a few days before he rang and said he couldn't be there after all - "would 11am on the same day be all right?" The tenants replied that this time was not satisfactory as no one would be home and a new date was set.

However, one of the tenants changed her mind after this, decided to say home after all, and watched as on the dot of 11am her land agent and 4 helpers arrived. They then asked to be shown around, and left about 2 minutes later.

This astonishingly sly and callous eviction attempt came after the tenants had lived 17 months in the flat and paid over $2500 in rent. Yet they received nothing but excuses from in response to constant requests to carry out repairs to their shabby house.

In December last year, the tenants gave up asking and withheld their rent, telling that it would be repaid when all the long-promised repairs were carried out, response was in the form of an eviction notice, telling them to be out by January 31.

The tenants then tried to meet with their land agent to explain why they stopped paying rent, but weren't interested in dealing directly with people who stood up for their rights. If and his hatchet-men had found no-one home at the flat as they planned, it's very unlikely that the tenants could have regained entry.

In an accustomed flurry of publicity, the Tenants Union held a picket outside Offices in early February to draw attention to their twisted ethics. A number of other tenants from the" "flats in St. took part in the picket, to protest against their recent 96% rent increase.

Nathan's had taken over the flats 6 weeks earlier and as usual made no improvements in that time. Just four days after Nationals 3.2% wage order, the tenants heard of their 96% rent hike.

The only reason given was that valuers had been through the property (unbeknown to the tenants) and they had advised that much higher rents were appropriate.

The tenants at Flats didn't agree with the justice of this decision, and felt that a picket was the only way to get through to sharks like