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Going Overseas? How You Can Avoid Fines
If you’re a private landlord about to set off on holiday for more than 21 days you may be fined if you don’t appoint a representative. Here’s everything you need to know before you go.
When Can a Landlord be Fined for Going on Holiday?
If you’ve failed to appoint a representative (also known as an agent) before jetting off overseas you may be liable for a fine of up to $1,500. Private landlords who take an extended break of more than 21 consecutive days must ask someone to manage their property in their absence.
What Do I Need to Do Before Going on Holiday?
Before you go on an extended holiday you need to:
- Appoint a New Zealand based representative
- Let your tenants know you’re going away
- Notify the bond centre if this is where your bond is held.
If you fail to take these steps then under the Residential Tenancies Act you could be liable for exemplary damages of up to $1500.
Notifying the Bond Centre
If a bond is held in respect of the tenancy, you must notify the bond centre of your appointed representative. When you return from overseas, you must change the bond back into your own name.
How Should I Choose a Representative?
You can appoint anyone you choose to be your representative, as long as they are New Zealand-based and fully aware of the legal requirements and obligations of managing a rental property. Choose someone you trust.
What May the Representative Need to do?
Under the law, the agent you have appointed has all the rights and obligations of a landlord. Importantly, they will need to be available to respond to any emergency calls.
What Do I Need to Tell My Tenant?
Before going on holiday give your tenant:
- Your representative's name
- Your representative's contact details
- An address for service
If you fail to pass on the above details, the tenant can give the landlord a notice to remedy.
Read about remedying property breaches.
How Can a Property Manager Help?
If you already have a property manager, such as Crockers, then the process is easy! Simply let them know you are going away, as your property manager is already appointed as your representative.
If you’re going away for much longer than 21 days it’s worth considering engaging a property manager. After all, it’s a lot to ask a friend or family member to be on constant call when they’re not being paid.