When it comes to renting a property in New Zealand, one of the most important documents you will need to sign is a tenancy agreement. This legally binding contract outlines the terms and conditions of your tenancy, including details around rent, bond, and your responsibilities as a tenant. However, there is often one crucial aspect of a tenancy agreement that is overlooked: heating.
Heating is a vital component of any rental property, especially in New Zealand where the winter months can be particularly cold and damp. As a tenant, it is your right to have access to a warm and dry living environment, and your landlord has a legal obligation to provide adequate heating solutions.
So, what should you look for when it comes to heating in your tenancy agreement?
1. Type of heating
It is important to have a clear understanding of what type of heating is provided in your rental property. Common options include electric heaters, heat pumps, and gas heaters. Ensure that the agreement specifies what type of heating is available to you and whether it is included in the rent or if you will need to pay additional costs for its use.
2. Condition of heating
It is also essential to ensure that the heating solution provided is in good working condition. The tenancy agreement should outline who is responsible for maintaining the heating system and what to do if it stops working. It is advisable to request a copy of the maintenance record for the heating system before signing the agreement.
3. Temperature standards
The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) in New Zealand requires that landlords provide a minimum temperature of 18°C in living areas. Your tenancy agreement should specify that the heating system provided must be capable of meeting this requirement. It is also worth noting that landlords must provide heating in bedrooms if the temperature drops below 16°C.
4. Additional heating
If the property has additional heating solutions such as a fireplace, ensure that the agreement outlines who is responsible for maintaining it and what restrictions are in place for its use.
5. Energy efficiency
Heating can account for a significant portion of your energy bill. The tenancy agreement should specify the energy efficiency rating of the heating system provided and any measures that have been taken to reduce energy consumption.
Your tenancy agreement should outline whether the cost of heating is included in your rent or if you will need to pay additional costs for its use. If additional costs are required, ensure that any extra charges are reasonable and proportionate to the actual cost of the heating.
As with any aspect of your tenancy, it is important to ensure that your bond covers any potential damage to the heating system or additional costs associated with its use.
In summary, heating is a crucial aspect of any rental property in New Zealand. As a tenant, it is essential to ensure that your tenancy agreement provides clear details around the heating provided, its condition, temperature standards, energy efficiency, and additional costs associated with its use. By being well-informed and proactive, you can ensure that your living environment is warm, dry, and comfortable throughout your tenancy.