Are you a Kiwi re-pat returning from the UK, or a UK expat moving to New Zealand? Then, finding a home is probably one of the (many) items on your to-do list.
In the first of our three-part series on Looking for a home in New Zealand, we share some top-level tips about renting (with helpful links to other resources). And of course, watch this space for our second and third guides, where we’ll focus on first homes and investment properties.
Remember, we’re here to help: While our team at Pension Transfers don’t provide advice on mortgages, property investment or renting, we have long-standing partnerships with experts in these areas who can help you make informed decisions along the way. And of course, if you’re considering a UK pension transfer to New Zealand, get in touch: we have over 20 years’ experience in assisting returning New Zealanders and UK ex-pats with this complex and often lengthy process.
1. Work out your budget
With low supply and high demand in many regions, the New Zealand rental property market can be a competitive place. So it’s important to know where you stand, by working out your budget.
You can use Tenancy.govt.nz’s Market Rent online tool to check what the average weekly rent and bond is for properties in your area of choice.
2. Find rental listings
Once you have a ballpark budget figure and a rough idea of the features you’d like, it’s time to go hunting. There are many ways to find rental listings in New Zealand. Websites like Trademe.co.nz, Oneroof.co.nz and Realestate.co.nz are just some of the go-to websites. And if you’re looking at flatting, you may consider joining one of the dedicated Facebook groups.
3. Attend property viewings
As our partners at Mobile Relocation Experts point out in this handy guide, rental listings don’t show the whole picture. Seeing the property in person will give you an actual idea of its layout and surroundings. Plus, you can ask any questions you may have in mind – including bill costs, what type of tenancy the landlord is looking for, and how long the last tenant stayed.
It can also be an opportunity to make a good first impression. Depending on the location there may be high demand for rentals, with many people attending the same viewing at once. Here are some tips from body language expert and coach Suzanne Masefield on how to stay calm and impress.
4. Fill up the pre-tenancy form
Did you find a property you like? You can ask for the rental application at the viewing or afterwards – the sooner, the better. The form usually is pretty straightforward, and it will ask for contact details, permission to run a credit check, and references (click here to check out the standard pre-tenancy form).
But what if you don’t have references, perhaps because this is your first time renting in New Zealand? According to Tenancy.govt.nz, you can ask a friend, co-worker or your employer to be your reference. Make sure you include a cover letter as well: while it’s not a mandatory requirement, it can add a personal touch to your application.
When you apply for a tenancy, it’s also a good idea to know what a landlord or property manager can and cannot ask you: check out this Privacy Commissioner’s infographic to learn more.
And lastly, don’t forget that pre-tenancy applications are not legally binding contracts. Until you’ve signed a rental agreement, you can apply for as many rental properties as you like, to maximise your opportunities.
5. Sign the agreement
Has the landlord chosen you? Congratulations – it’s time to sign the tenancy agreement. Unlike pre-tenancy forms, a tenancy agreement is legally binding, so make sure you read it carefully before signing on the dotted line. For comprehensive information about tenancy agreements, visit the Tenancy.govt.nz dedicate page here.
6. Do a move-in inspection
You’ll also need to do an inspection of the property with the landlord or property manager, either when you sign the agreement or the day you move in. This is to get an accurate picture of the current conditions of the house. Make sure you take your time, take photos, and put any issues you notice with the property in writing, to avoid being charged for them later on.
7. Pay the bond
Landlords usually require tenants to pay some rent in advance and a bond before moving in, which could be as up to four weeks’ worth of rent.
This money will be held by Tenancy Services (not the landlord), and the landlord will use it in case of damage, unpaid bills or rent, and other claims relating to the tenancy. It’s possible to lodge the bond online via Tenancy.govt.nz.
Thinking of moving your UK pension closer to your new home?
We’re UK Pension Transfer specialists, and work in synergy with a number of different experts to ensure every angle of the process is covered – including the practical aspects of your relocation.
Click here to request your free comprehensive UK pension transfer report, or give us a call on 0800 UK 11 NZ if you have any questions.
Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current developments or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.