Legal Rights as a Flatmate - Update

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16 years 8 months ago #857 by stacey
Hi guys, I was just wondering if there was anybody out there who was clued up enough to give me some advice on some renting difficulties :) Because I can't be bothered writing it all out again, I will just copy and paste the letter I have sent to the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Department of Building and Housing :)

"In preparing to give notice to move out of the rental property that I live in with three other tenants, I requested that a fax of the tenancy agreement be sent through to me. On recieving the fax, I found out that my name was not listed on the agreement, I had only signed the application form and not the tenancy agreement. This means that I am only a flatmate and not a co-tenant as previously thought. There was no flatmate agreement signed (as I had thought I was a tenant) and so there are no guidelines as to how much notice I have to give. I also paid a quarter of the bond that we initially had to pay to move into the flat, I have now discovered that my name is not on the agreement OR the bond refund application. What I need to know is:

What rights do I have in regards to my share of the bond?
How much notice do I have to give, if any, to move out of the flat?

I have had trouble finding more information about the rights of flatmates as opposed to tenants, but I understand that I flatmates are not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act. If you could give me anymore information on this it would be very much appreciated."

Yep I know I know, my fault for thinking that the application was the agreement. I thought that because the rules of living at the house were outlined in the application..... Makes me sound real stupid, but I pormise I am not that dumb normally......

I have only sent the email tonight, so no reply as yet from the two things I sent it to. But if anyone can enlighten me a bit more, that would be great.

On a tangent - I am was moving out mostly because I wanted to live with my horse on grazing instead of having to drive out there every day. I *THINK* (fingers crossed) that I have found a place with grazing and an arena out in a cool lifestyle block. See this is slightly lifestyle block related! :)

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16 years 8 months ago #51476 by wyseyes
Hmmm, hairy stuff.

I take it you all moved in at the same time (since you paid a bit of bond), then someone had to have actually signed that tenancy agreement, and bond form. Who was that? It seems that they are the actual legal tenant (LT), and you actually paid your bond to the LT. Thus when you move out, and everything is nice and tidy on your part, it should be the LT returning your portion of the bond to you.
It shouldn't be your problem as to where the LT gets that money from, and if they get another tenant in then the new flatmate should front with their portion of the bond. Which can be given to you.
If they wish to now make it a flat of three, then each of the three need to stump up to give you your portion back.

But that's only if they are fair.
The real question is do the other flatties know you are leaving? Are they resistant to it?

What was this application form? Applying to who, for what?

I see you shiver in anticip......................................................................................ation

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16 years 8 months ago #51478 by stacey
The other flatties don't know that I am leaving yet, but I will give reasonable notice and will let them know shortly. I don't know how they will react, but I am doubtful as to whether I will get my bond back, not because I have trashed the place, but because we havn't been getting on too well lately. There are two people on the tenancy agreement, as I have found out, that is the guy and his girlfriend (so the other girl must be a flatmate also). So they are the Legel Tenants.

The application form was an application form to move in to the flat, sorry for not making that clear.

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16 years 8 months ago #51490 by HarryPotter
Hi Stacey...because you are not a legal tenant, you are regarded as a flatmate and resident in the house with the agreement of the legal tenants. Hopefully you have some form of proof that you paid your share of the bond. Bare in mind that the legal tenant does not hold the bond nor does the landlord. Housing NZ has your money and theoretically that should be refunded to you once you fill out the necessary form. I'm sure you are aware of this site www.dbh.govt.nz/index
Hope this helps.

Sharing the pad with Harry the Australian Terrorist, Penny the Bearded Collie, Bev the Schnauzer/beardie and her daughters Nellie and Charlotte. (Dad was a Hungarian Vizsla) + lots of chooks. [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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16 years 8 months ago #51508 by stacey
Thanks Harry, bond was paid to the legal tenant (to be passed on to the real estate agent). Withdrew it manually :( As I thought I was a tenant (not a flatmate) I assumed my name would be on the tenancy agreement and also on the bond lodgement form (which would be proof that I was entitled to my share of the bond), so I did not get a reciept from the legel tenant that I had given the money to him. However, now I have found out that my assumptions were wrong (I do take some responsibility for this, my fault for not making sure - it is easy to make assumptions when all is going well!), so I cannot claim any part of the bond from Housing New Zealand, I can only claim it from the legal tenants.

Yes I have sent an email to the Department of Building and Housing (and also the Citizens Advice Bureau) to try and find out more about what kind of rights I have as a flatmate (not a tenant). Flatmates are not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act, so it is possible that I have next to no rights....

I may just have to cut my losses. Oh well, you live and learn don't you! :)

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16 years 8 months ago #51510 by reggit
You never know, it may all turn out okay. I'd be giving two weeks' notice at least, and asking when I give notice that my bond money be returned to me in cash the day I left.

Take a break...while I take care of your home, your block, your pets, your stock! [;)] PM me...

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16 years 8 months ago #51512 by stacey
Thanks tigger. I will be giving two weeks notice, I think that is reasonable? If not, let me know as if they dispute anything (I don't know what, but you never know), I think that my best defence is that I gave "reasonable" notice and did things that were "reasonable" :)

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16 years 8 months ago #51513 by Llew
"Housing NZ has your money"

Um... no they don't, Tenancy Services division of the Dept Building & Housing administer bonds.

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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16 years 8 months ago #51523 by max2
I would have thought tenancy services the best ones to ask about your legal position Stacey.

Just in case a housemate gets upset with your decision, at least you will be forearmed with the correct info that you can quote.

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16 years 8 months ago #51673 by ravenseyes
ANother thought if you still have the time is to give 3 weeks notice. If you are terminating a residential tenancy (Residential Tenancy Act you have to give 21 days writen notice so if you give your flatmates 21 days notice you can state in your letter "in accordance with the Reseidential Tenancy Act 1986, I hereby notify you I am giving 21 days notice of my intention to vacate .....

I would request that on receipt of my keys, the amount of $ xxx being my portion of the original bond, paid to you on date if you know it, be refunded to me"



Brave Words. I've heard them before from thousands of species across thousands of worlds, since long before you were created, but now, they are all Borg.

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16 years 8 months ago #51697 by stacey
Update - Have talked to Citzens Advice Bureau and the Department of Building and Housing. They have both said that I could move out anytime I want without giving notice, and both agreed that 2 weeks was reasonable. Both saw no reason as to why I shouldn't get my bond back but said that whether or not the legel tenants actually do was another story. The good thing about me not being covered by the Residential Tenancies Act is that it works both ways. For example, that they can kick me out without notice but I can also move out without notice.

So I have given them the letter of notice (2 weeks). Because I didn't think that they would give my bond back I asked that they deducted all my bills for September and also my last weeks rent that I owe from the bond and that the remainder of the bond be paid to me.... Sure enough they have come back and said that we "used up" our week in advance that we paid for when we moved in and so they will take that off my bond too (so I get no bond back). We didn't "use up" our week in advance but its ok, I'm not going to argue - there isn't really any point, I would have to go to Disputes Tribunal to get it back and that would end up costing me more than what the amount of bond owing is worth after I take time off work and pay the fee.

I am just happy that I am moving out and back into the country, living in town was just not working out for me :)

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16 years 8 months ago #51733 by max2
Probably no surprise from them then. I would suggest that if you can get your valuables out of the property fairly quickly, that it will be a good idea, in case they decide to hold some cherished possession of yours as collateral...

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16 years 8 months ago #51777 by wyseyes
And print off a copy of a blank tenancy agreement, in preparation for your next renting adventure. Brush up on your rights as a tenant, including the legal documentation, and also imagine the situation from your new landlord's point of view.

I see you shiver in anticip......................................................................................ation

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16 years 8 months ago #51779 by reggit

quote:Originally posted by swaggie

Probably no surprise from them then. I would suggest that if you can get your valuables out of the property fairly quickly, that it will be a good idea, in case they decide to hold some cherished possession of yours as collateral...

I got caught in the middle of a dispute many years ago when this happened, the bed was the prized possession, and when the ex-tenant (who I had replaced and had never met) turned up with a couple of large brothers and took it when I was home but the main tenant wasn't - boy, did the main tenant hit the roof! Very unpleasant and dirty dealings on both sides...

The joys of flatting [:I]

Take a break...while I take care of your home, your block, your pets, your stock! [;)] PM me...

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16 years 8 months ago #51785 by HarryPotter
If that is the case Stacey I would move out straight away. What is keeping you?
Best wishes.

Sharing the pad with Harry the Australian Terrorist, Penny the Bearded Collie, Bev the Schnauzer/beardie and her daughters Nellie and Charlotte. (Dad was a Hungarian Vizsla) + lots of chooks. [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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