You have rights. Don’t let your landlord fuck you over.
The other week I woke up on my fourth alarm. Dragging myself out of bed and standing up I realised the normally crispy carpet seemed kind of damp. Taking a couple of steps further it was soon clear that my room in my $200 per week shack was entirely flooded.
I had Media Comm III to get to (which is a notoriously gripping class), so off I went as if nothing had even happened. What baffled me in this case was not the fact that the ex-boyfriend of my new flatmate had flooded the place intentionally, but just how fucking useless landlords can really be.
Being inexperienced in terms of what to do when your entire home is damaged, my flatmates and I naively left it to our landlord to take on the situation. As we’re all on separate leases, it didn’t fall under our responsibility as tenants. Not once did they suggest rent compensation or alternate accommodation - despite the fact I had to move out temporarily. Locks needed to be changed, the door that got all broken by the crazy ex had to be bolted shut and no new carpet was laid (they sort of tried to dry the stanky, stained, damp stuff before relaying it). Even when the carpet people came, the landlord refused to sign the paperwork and be contacted, despite OWNING THE PROPERTY!
We may sink a lot of piss on the weekends, but this doesn’t mean we don’t know better. It’s often difficult for students to find a flat as landlords can see more stability in renting to families or yo-pro’s. Even once you’ve got a place nailed down, it’s easy for us to run into sticky situations through a lack of familiarity with our rights and with the Residential Tenancy Act.
"Even once you’ve got a place nailed down, it’s easy for us students to run into sticky situations through a lack of familiarity with our rights and with the Residential Tenancy Act."
A guy I spoke to, Jack Dickins, says he ran into trouble with his landlord after several parties. Dickins says the landlord threatened to send over “his boys” to the flat to sort them out. Love a bit of scare tactics from the old landlord. Who needs protocol?
Another student I spoke to, Sarah Dickson, says her landlord once entered their flat and moved one of the cars from the driveway. “None of us were in the flat at the time and he didn’t notify us that he was coming.” Super random and weird.
Kendall, another student I had a chat with says she waited two months to receive her bond money back.
“My flatmate’s parents owned the flat. Not only would the parents fill the air with cigarette smoke, but they frequently stayed at our flat for weeks on end, making my bachelorette Tinder habit very difficult to maintain.”
If you’re running into issues with your landlord or want reassurance of your rights, you might want to hop on the Tenancy Services website. The New Zealand Tenancy Tribunal suggests if you can’t sort something out between the renter and landlord, you can formalise an agreement through their FastTrack Resolutions service or organise a Tenancy Tribunal Hearing where each side will be heard and an official order will be made. Application forms to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal are $20.44 and can result in a hearing or mediation. The number is also free to call if you’re interested in getting some basic advice.
Student or not, you’re in a legal contract and paying rent, you have rights - make sure you’re educated on what they are.