- The account to pay rent into is on your Tenancy Agreement. It is expected that payments are made from the flat account, and referenced with that flat address. If, for any reason, you need to make an individual payment, please reference it with “your name – reason”. For example “H Wilson – Bond”
- Rent is to be paid “in advance”, which means that the rent is paying for the days yet to come, not for the days that have just been.
- Rent is to be paid in one sum per week/fortnight (as agreed), and referenced with an identifier for that property address.
- We use common courteous conversation to address issues with rent payments, unless we need the support of the Tenancy Services processes to ensure that the Tenancy Agreement is being honoured. Communication is the key to a good working relationship.
For your arrival
- There’s a lot can be done before arriving at your flat – power, internet, phone.
- Give us a week notice of your ETA – so we can be sure someone is there to open up or leave a key. An email or text is sufficient.
- While you get your flat and gear sorted, it can be wise to bring a sleeping bag for your first few nights in Dunedin.
- Our flats do not have central heating and rely on you having power connected in order to be warm and serviceable – get the power connected before you come if at all possible.
Repairs and Maintenance
- Emergency repairs are those which would cause injury to a tenant, or damage to a property – such as burst water pipes, blocked drains/toilet/sewage, serious roof or gas leak, dangerous electrical fault, flooding, fire damage, water service failure, no power or hot water – contact us urgently. If, by chance, we are unable to be contacted, the RTA allows for urgent repairs to be contracted out, and we will refund costs if we have been unavailable.
- If repairs and damages are the result of neglect by tenants or visitors, the cost will be passed onto the tenants. For example, toilet blockage due to foreign object in the drains, hairclips jamming in the washing machine pump.
- If a routine maintenance request has not been fixed within 7 day, please let us know – sometimes the person responsible has unfortunately overlooked the odd request in busy times.
- You can do small repairs like tightening screws, and changing light bulbs, but call us if you don’t have the tools to do it safely.
- We sometimes employ other contractors to do our maintenance, and they will contact you to arrange access. If there is no one home, we can arrange access with them. They are are trusted business people, and are expected to leave your home safe, clean and tidy at the end of their work day. Please let us know if you have any concerns.
- Let us know if tap washers need replaced – don’t keep screwing the tap down tighter and tighter or it will result in a more major repair. In general they last for years… but if it is more than wear-and-tear, you will be required to pay the repair.
- Stove elements also last for years – let us know if they go. Again, if it is due to tenant damage, you will be asked to pay the repair.
- Tenants are responsible for blown light bulbs and must replace with the same standard of bulb or better.
- At the start of your tenancy it is important to do an initial inspection form with us. In this way we both see that the property is in the same condition when you move out as when you moved in. We do this on paper, and via a series of photos.
- Routine inspections are taken during the year, to look for regular maintenance and to test smoke alarms. You can expect at least 48 hours’ notice of these. They are a good time to comment on minor maintenance, which may have slipped your mind to report. You do not need to be present, but we try to make it at a time when everyone is present. If our maintenance team have been in on some other maintenance, they will cast their trained eye over the property, and a “formal” inspection may not be needed. We aim to test smoke alarms every 3 months.
- Inspections usually take 15-20 minutes and report on wear and tear, cleanliness, maintenance due and upcoming, tenant damage.
- We usually record our inspections photographically, to send to our maintenance people, and for our files.
Grounds and lawns
- You must keep your grounds safe and clear of rubbish.
- Most of our properties have a regular contract for lawn-mowing. He expects to be able to come in and mow at any time, without the need to clean up glass, rubbish, clothes, mess!
- Be careful not to store equipment, boxes or rubbish on the lawns – it kills the grass, and attracts vermin.
Health and Safety
- You are required to keep your home and surrounds as a safe and healthy environment – this includes reporting maintenance so it does not escalate, not tampering with smoke alarms, keeping grounds and home hazard free, working out an escape plan and meeting place for all occupants in the event of a fire, only using the premises and grounds for lawful purposes.
- Pest control – keep your property free of pests and vermin by removing rubbish weekly, keeping food scraps in secure bins, cleaning behind the fridge and oven, cleaning the kitchen and floors particularly.
- In colder weather, rats and mice might choose to come and join your warm home, especially if there is a ready supply of food! We recommend you put down poison bait behind the fridge and oven - we have found Talon WB40 works well. Let us know if the problem is in your roof space, and we will lay bait.
Security / Locked out!
- Each bedroom in a student flat has a lock.
- You are responsible to pay for any new door locks and keys if damaged, or lost.
- We are happy to open locked doors during normal business hours, or if we are in town in the evening/weekend, but if it is after hours, you might choose to engage our locksmith DUNEDIN SECURITY, quote your property address, and show photo ID when they come. They expect a cash payment at the time of attendance. Dunedin Security – 03 477 2900. The after-hours call out fee can be expensive - sometimes it is cheaper to sleep on the sofa and wait till next business day.
- The Landlord has insurance on the property against damage. That insurance is usually for the benefit of the Landlord only.
- Tenants are advised to have insurance. The Landlord’s insurance does not cover your belongings. This is often called “renter’s insurance” and covers your belongings, and any personal liability which the landlord’s insurer may try to claim back from you if they deem you or your invited guests liable for the damage.
Heating and Ventilation
Remember “The Water Cycle” you learned in Y8 Science? Most of these tips relate to that process. Water can be added to the room (by breathing, drying clothes, etc.) and it has to go somewhere – so try and get it “out” rather than recycling in your room.
- Open the windows and doors on fine days to air out the moisture build up... but get them shut again before the sun goes down, and trap the warm dry air in by closing the curtains around 5ish/dusk.
- Grab an old towel and dry the condensation on windows and sills each morning – hang the towel outside to air on the line – this will keep your windows clean of mould, and stop the moisture being added to “today’s lot” in the recycle process the next night.
- Dry clothes as much as possible outside... airing racks in rooms add many litres of water to your flat – especially if everyone is doing it. Damp air is much harder to heat... and condenses again when the temperature goes back down at night. This includes thinking about how you can reduce the moisture added to your home via umbrellas, wet parkas, wet shoes.
- Move your bed away from the walls – let it have air flowing around it... this prevents mildew on walls and bedding. Also, keep mattresses/bases off cold floors; put them on a raised bed base which enables air to circulate underneath. Use books or bricks to raise it if you have nothing else – but most Op shops sell bed-base legs for a pittance compared to one trip to the doctor or the cost of mildew removal from carpet at the end of your tenancy!
- Open your wardrobe a little – and leave it open on fine days. This is when the air in the room is drying out, and the temperature is high enough to help evaporate pockets of moisture. A product like “Damprid” in the bottom of your wardrobe also helps.
- Have a small window open when cooking – unless your flat has an above oven extractor. If so, turn it on when cooking.
- Use the heater and extractor in the bathroom. The heater keeps the moisture in “steam” form longer, so the extractor can extract it! Turning on the heater 3-5 mins BEFORE your shower, helps to keep more steam in “suspension” to be extracted, rather than condensing on cold surfaces. If you don’t use them, it is common for the electrics to “short” and blow your lights and heater/extractor unit. Leaving the bathroom window open slightly allows air flow into the bathroom and will improve the extractor fan's effectiveness. After a shower, let the fan run for a few more minutes. Dust/Clean your extractor fans regularly to maintain their performance.
- Keep your heatpump on thermostat at a basic temperature – a constant 18-20 degrees is good. It is cheaper than using the heatpump to heat a cold damp house each night as you come in.
- Move your chairs from directly under the heatpump – the coldest seat is the one in the airflow of cold air being sucked back into the unit.
- When you come home for the day, shut your curtains, and leave the bedroom door open a bit to air the room... then shut it and “spot heat it” for the 10 mins before you head back in there. Timers are cheap at Mitre 10 and similar stores... you can then set them to come on 10 mins before it’s time to get out of bed too!
- Use lids on pots when cooking to reduce moisture release and to conserve energy.
- Keep furniture away from external walls. If you place large objects like furniture too close to poorly insulated external walls you're almost guaranteed to get mould growing behind it in winter. To avoid this, leave a gap of 10cm or more to allow room air to circulate behind it.
- Look for mould regularly and remove it if you find any. Regularly check for signs of mould in your home, including hidden areas like wardrobes, under carpets and behind curtains and furniture. If you find any mould, remove it. A wipe over with white vinegar works wonders.
- If you have a leak or a leaking tap or pipe, contact us as soon as possible... the moisture left in the air, or the wetness left in the walls/ceiling/floors/cupboards, will only add to the problems of dampness and mildew, and make it more expensive to heat your room/flat.
Rubbish, Recycling and the Environment
- Dunedin properties are supplied with one green bin with yellow lid for approved recyclables, and one blue bin for unbroken glass recycling. These are collected free alternate weeks.
- Each week the approved DCC black plastic rubbish sack is collected. These can be purchased from the supermarket or DCC.
- For the timetable for your address, check with DCC
- Other companies offer paid contractual wheelie bin kerbside collection of household rubbish. These bins are usually red-lidded and hired/rented to the tenant group – Waste Management or Enviro Waste
- By arrangement, the University and DCC have regular “Skip Days” on many corners in the campus zone to enable students to dispose of rubbish which is too large for the normal domestic collections. The timetable can be found at ORC
- Vehicles must not be parked on footpaths or lawns
- Unregistered vehicles should not be kept at your property
- Oil stains on any driveway or parking space are to be removed prior to vacating
- In some part of Dunedin it is possible to buy a “Residents Parking Permit” from the DCC, and have access to those permitted parks. You will need to show them a copy of your lease.
At the end of your tenancy
- If your tenancy is not fixed term, please give us as much notice as possible to find a replacement tenant. Thanks.
- If you get "snail mail", begin to make a list of all the people who are sending you mail – so you can inform them of your new address. Organise a mail redirection with NZ Post.
- Begin to clear the rubbish in the weeks prior to moving. Don’t leave it all for the final week – or the rubbish collection day after you have left!
- You must take all your belongings with you.
- Leave the house clean and tidy, as you received it.
- Remove all rubbish from the house and the section.
- We do an inspection prior to releasing the Bond Refund. We are happy to do an “interim” one if you want to know our expectations. A cleaning checklist will be sent to you, so you know what you are being checked against.
- Arrange for a final power reading
- Arrange with us for the key return and final inspection.
- You are responsible for visitors and guests on your property.
- They are bound by the same responsibilities as you are in the Tenancy Agreement.
- You are welcome to have visitors stay for short periods, but must not exceed the maximum number living at the premises.
How do we dry our washing efficiently?
- As much as possible dry your wet washing outside – this reduces the moist air going into your home, and lets sun and fresh air do their cleaning work.
- If you are using the clothes dryer, make sure you clean out the filter before each load. Damp lint clogs the filter, and causes the machine to take longer and cost more.
Our washing machine is not cleaning the clothes efficiently anymore – what shall we do?
- The concentrated powders on the market today can “glugg” up the agitator. Try this natural clean process http://www.diynatural.com/how-to-clean-a-washing-machine/
- If your machine is not draining the water away, first, check that the machine is not set to “suds save” setting.
- If none of these work, call us and we will organise an appliance repairperson. If the problem is due to blockages in the pump (hair clips, bra wires, matches, etc), the callout and repair will be charged to the tenant.
What’s the best way to keep our heatpump efficient?
- Heatpumps are the most efficient way to heat your home.
- Check out https://www.energywise.govt.nz/at-home/heating-and-cooling/types-of-heater/heat-pumps/#using-wisely
- Clean your heatpump filters every couple of months.
The oven isn’t working – what can I do?
If the oven indicator light is not on, it is possible that the oven has been switched to automatic. Check the clock dials on the oven instrument panel, and “play”. Often there will be a sign that looks like a hand – press this and it will revert to “manual”. Alternatively turn the “start” clock dial until it aligns with the “stop” time – it will possible “click” or “pop out”… and then the indicator light should go on. Call us if none of these work.
How can we reduce our power/gas costs?
- If you think your power bill is exorbitant, check out the government website energywise.govt.nz or EECA for what you can do. If you disagree with your power usage, you can read your meter yourself... If your property doesn’t have a “smart meter”, the power company tends to only read the meter every second month and then “estimate” the month between... and that’s often based on what last year’s tenants used! So if you get an estimate, you can read your numbers and phone them in, and have a real reading and real account. The problem with estimates can also be that if they under-estimate your usage, the next bill (an “actual”) will be higher too. Lots of students use “Powershop” or check out “What’s my number?” to see if they can reduce their bills. The Energywise/EECA website also has some useful charts on what to turn off and what it will save you!
- DO NOT use gas heaters as they release large amounts of moisture and toxic combustion gases into your house. They can also be a fire hazard.
We have no power working?
- Check your switchboard that your power safety switch hasn’t tripped. ALL switches should be facing the same way.
- Contact us if this is not the issue.
We have gas on to our property. How does that work?
- If your property has an instant gas hot water system, you will have two large gas bottles attached to the house. At the start of your tenancy one bottle should be full.
- Do not touch the lever pointing to the cylinders. This is for the gas refill person to use to identify the most recently filled cylinder. The gas bottles automatically “swap” over as one becomes empty.
- It is your responsibility to purchase your gas refills.
- The landlord pays the hire fee on the cylinders if you are using Rockgas as your supplier.
- At the end of your tenancy you are required to leave one cylinder completely full for the incoming tenants. If this is not done, the cost will be taken from your bond.
Where do I hook up for power?
- Tenants are responsible for the power connections and payments for their house. Google search power companies for your address.
- Powershop is a company offering pre-paid power – and if you are organised you can save dollars through the year by buying from the cheapest provider.
- At the end of your tenancy, phone your company with a final reading for the day you vacate.
What about cleaning the carpet?
- Regular vacuuming slows down unnecessary staining in carpet. Once to twice a week is recommended.
- We have carpets steam cleaned regularly. If your tenancy has made significant carpet “mess” you will be required to pay for it. Our contractor will be employed, so there is no “DIY residue” causing the stain to set.
- Damage to carpet should be assessed by us as soon as possible.
- Spill removal basics are:
- SCOOP up the solids
- BLOT up the liquids
- CLEAN with a natural cleaning agent applied to a clean towel, and then onto the spill
- RINSE with cold water – do not saturate
- BLOT DRY with clean towels… or cold air fan.
- DO NOT RUB or scrub – start from the outer edge and work inwards… google your particular stain treatment if it is small… get in touch with us if it needs professional treatment.
What furnishings are supplied?
- The chattels list for each property is available.
- Sometimes departing tenants want to leave things behind “to be helpful to the new tenants” – usually it is junk, and we discourage this practice.
- If you are a first year student flatter, you may want to be connected with the outgoing tenants, if they are selling gear. Have the conversation together before the end of the student year.
Can I cut extra keys?
- If you cut yourself an extra key for emergencies, please inform us. We would be willing to purchase it at the end of your tenancy, if you hold the receipt.
- No keys to the property are to be given to anyone not on the Tenancy Agreement.
How do I put things on the walls without damaging the surface underneath?
Damage to the walls normally requires sanding back and repainting at your expense, so use drawing pins for light objects, or removable self-adhesive picture hooks for heavier items eg Command tape by 3M