Tenants and property owners who are unclear on their rights
are being encouraged to attend a free public information
session this week.
Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) Queenstown chairman Jon Bitcheno
said the ski season traditionally attracted hundreds of
would-be renters to the resort and the bureau wanted to
ensure tenants and landlords knew their rights and
The information session with Invercargill-based tenancy
resolution mediator May Morrison would tie in with the
national Citizens Advice Bureau Awareness Week, which runs
from today until Sunday.
Mr Bitcheno said, on average, CAB Queenstown dealt with
almost 200 tenancy inquiries a year and figures showed the
busiest months were April, June and September.
Some of the regular problems included disputes over rent
payments, disagreements over damage and inspections and
problems with repairs to the property.
''One of the most common problems we see is with flatmates
who do not have a flatting agreement.
''While the tenants have a contract with the landlord,
flatmates are in a much stronger position if they have a
flatting agreement between themselves and the head tenant.
''We had a case of a person who moved into a flat, did not
sign a flat-sharing agreement, handed over a bond in cash
without receiving a receipt and suddenly found their
circumstances had changed.
''After giving the head tenant a month's notice, they were
told they had to stay for two months `as had been agreed
''The client wanted to know their rights,'' said Mr Bitcheno.
Another person had offered to let a person with several pets
stay for ''a week or two'' until they found alternative
accommodation, but found themselves unable to get the new
flatmate to leave several weeks later.
''Again, there was no written agreement.
''The situation can get particularly tricky when you move in
with friends and things go wrong. It is really important to
always have a written flatting agreement, which you can get
from calling in to the bureau or downloading from our
website, and make sure you know your rights and
Mr Bitcheno said there were ''a few simple rules of thumb''
to prevent issues arising.
It was a legal requirement to have a tenancy agreement in
writing, a copy of which should be kept for the tenant's
Any changes to the agreement - for example, extending the
tenancy - also needed to be recorded.
''If you do have any problems, raise them as soon as possible
with your landlord or tenant.''
• The free CAB Queenstown information/training session with
May Morrison will be on Friday, March 22, at St John, Douglas
St, Frankton, from 10am until 11.30am.