Tenancy Agreements: How to Add & Enforce Clauses

Landlords are within their right to add a wide variety of conditions to tenancy agreements, but many are unsure what conditions are often included in tenancy agreements to deal with day-to-day circumstances. 


Here are our top tips on adding conditions to tenancy agreements and how to ensure tenants carry them out.


Clauses Landlords Can Add to Tenancy Agreements:

  • Prohibiting tenants from smoking in the house.

  • Limiting the number of people allowed to live in the house.

  • Requiring the names of all occupants living in property.

  • No subletting.

  • Indicating certain areas on the property where cars are not allowed to be parked.

  • Stating the tenant can’t have pets.

  • Allowing the landlord to conduct methamphetamine testing.

  • Requiring the tenant to mow the lawn.


Clauses to Avoid in Tenancy Agreements:

It’s pointless putting conditions in tenancy agreements that could be deemed unenforceable under law. The Residential Tenancies Act doesn’t allow any clauses to be written into tenancy agreements that conflict with the Act. This means clauses that ask tenants to do more than the Act requires them to do, or tries to remove their rights are unenforceable.


Examples of Unenforceable Clauses:

  • Tenants must replace stove elements, fuses, taps and provided chattels as they wear out.

  • Landlords are legally responsible for ensuring the premises is maintained in a reasonable state of repair, making this clause unenforceable.

  • A tenant must pay 4 weeks bond plus 2 weeks extra bond for the landlord allowing a dog.

  • The law only allows a maximum of 4 weeks rent as a bond, making this clause in breach of the Residential Tenancies Act.

  • Tenants must give 60 days’ notice to end a periodic agreement.

  • The Act only requires the tenant to give notice of not less than 21 days to end this type of agreement.


How To Ensure Tenants Carry Out Your Conditions:


The best way to ensure your conditions are carried out is by making sure your tenants fully understand everything at the beginning of the tenancy, and know you plan to conduct regular property inspections every few months to check.


At Quinovic we make sure all new tenants understand the agreement and our processes.


Before the tenancy starts, the new tenants come to our office where we provide them with our Welcome Pack, which includes a copy of the signed tenancy agreement, bond & rent information, frequently asked questions, insurance advice, and tips on preventing mold and cleaning the property.


During the visit we sit down with them and carefully explain important sections of the agreement and Welcome Pack to ensure they understand what is expected from them and the best way to contact us.


Life gets busy, but try to take the time to complete property inspections thoroughly. When giving inspections ensure you provide at least 48 hours written notice - keep in mind that landlords can only inspect once in any 4 week period.


What if Tenants Breach a Condition in the Tenancy Agreement?


The best way to start is by first contacting the tenants to make sure they’re aware of the breach and try resolve it by simple communication.


If this doesn’t work, send the tenants a 14-day Notice To Remedy to officially alert the tenant of the issue and provide them 14 days to fix it.


You can call the Tenancy Services and get guidance as to what can be done in the event of a breach. Usually these steps resolve the issue, however if not, the final step is taking the case to the Tenancy Tribunal, and seeking a termination of the tenancy agreement.


Final Thoughts


The tenancy agreement and Residential Tenancies Act does protect landlords for the most part. The point of being able to add these extra clauses is so you can customise the agreement to you and your property’s needs.


Remember words on paper are only so useful.Our Wellington Property Managers find regular property inspections are necessary to check your property is being well maintained and the agreement is being followed.


If you'd like to learn more about our Wellington Property Management team, our processes, and to receive a free rental appraisal, get in touch today by calling Robbie on 021 468 966 or emailing robbiem@quinovic-kt.co.nz

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