With New Zealand rental properties in high demand right now, being selective in your hunt may seem a touch naïve but finding the best home for your situation and budget is still top priority. Check out our seven top tips for viewing rental properties.
1. Start with the basics
Many of these will be included in the property’s online listing, however it helps to confirm how much the weekly or monthly rent is, the amount of bond you’ll need to pay, and what move-in costs are being asked (i.e., how many weeks of rent need to be paid in advance, in addition to the bond).
The other key point is availability — when is the rental property available for you to move in? Does that date work for you and are there any conditions like availability being dependent upon the existing tenant moving out?
2. What chattels are included?
If the rental is occupied at the time of the viewing, the current occupant may take some of the present chattels with them when they move out.
These are things like furnishings and appliances. It pays to talk this through with the landlord or property manager as you might need to account for additional purchases or make a plan for your own items if the home comes with these already supplied. The fridge can be a dealbreaker for some tenants!
3. Who looks after the lawn and garden?
When moving into a rental property with a lawn, garden, or both, it’s important to be clear about who will be responsible for the upkeep.
The Residential Tenancies Act says tenants are responsible for lawnmowing and weed pulling to keep the grounds “reasonably tidy.” Some landlords prefer not to leave this open to interpretation and pay a contractor to take care of it. This can mean higher rent, but some tenants love having one less job to do.
If this grounds service is included in your rent, make sure it’s mentioned in your tenancy agreement.
4. How “healthy” is the home?
Landlords now have to provide a healthy homes statement of compliance when starting a new tenancy agreement. This can help you gauge how the home is currently doing on the five Healthy Homes Standards: insulation, heating, ventilation, draft stopping, moisture ingress and drainage.
How compliant a home is with the Healthy Homes Standard is a fair indication of how comfortable it will be to live in.
5. Location, Location, Location
Geographic location will usually be your primary criterion, as in proximity to work, schools, shops, and recreation. The next step is assessing the immediate environment and surrounds of the home — are there neighbours with barking dogs or hundreds of cats? Is that a party flat or worse next door? Does the street form a high-speed shortcut for commuters?
Some house hunters go as far as saying hello to the neighbours to meet them and hear their experience of the street and neighbourhood.
6. Bonus tips to help you land your ideal rental
If the property you’re viewing ticks all the boxes and you’re convinced it’s the one, you’ll want to take a few measures to put your best foot forward.
- Attend the viewing looking like an upstanding and reliable tenant.
- Have all your ducks in a row with your application and forewarn your referees that they may be receiving a phone call in coming days.
- Complete your tenancy application form with as much information as you’re comfortable to provide. You’ll look more honest and come through the vetting better than those who leave lots of blanks.
- Act quickly. If the offer is on the table and it looks good, don’t mess about because there will be others already vetted and next on the list should you drag your heels.