Viewport width =
March 19, 2018 | by  | in Ask the Advocate Opinion |
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

Ask The Advocate

Dear Advocate,

I just moved into a new (exorbitantly expensive) flat, and my landlord charged a non-refundable fee of $230 per person, on top of bond and rent in advance. Are they allowed to do this?

Yours sincerely, Flat Broke.

Dear Flat Broke,

Unfortunately, landlords are allowed to charge a fee like this, called a letting fee, under the current law. Letting fees are an exception to the general rule that landlords cannot charge “key money” (a

non-refundable fee charged to the tenant, in order for them to secure tenancy of the

property). There are rules surrounding how and when letting fees are allowed, and the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 highlights two key factors:

Firstly, the fee must be no more than one week’s rent plus GST (15%): if your rent is $200 per person, $230 is the maximum fee they are allowed to charge.

Secondly, it may only be charged when there is a “letting agent” involved. A “letting agent” can be a solicitor or land agent; most commonly, agents operate through agencies such as Quinovic or Full House. If you are dealing directly with your landlord, and they have an interest in the property, (through direct ownership or indirectly e.g. through a trust), they are not allowed to charge a letting fee.

If your landlord has charged this fee but they are not entitled to do so, it is unlawful and they can be forced to pay you up to $1,000 in damages. A recent case heard in the Tenancy Tribunal (Yuan v Sau) resulted in a tenant being awarded $500 when their landlord charged a letting fee, despite being the owner of the property.

Hopefully, letting fees will soon be a relic of the past, as Labour has stated plans to abolish them.

xx Advocate

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

About the Author ()

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent posts

  1. Vic Beats a Dead Horse Named University of Wellington
  2. Issue 20, Vol 81: CW: Tits & Bits
  3. Food Sex
  4. A (Selective and By No-Means all-Encompassing) Look at Neo-Soul
  5. A Love Song
  6. Doing It
  7. Top 5 Sexiest TV Shows I I Was Too Young to be Watching But I Did Anyway
  8. My Dad Wrote A Porno
  9. NT: Te Ara Tauira
  10. Sexing up the Hub: Condoms, Clits & Suzy Cato
Website-Cover-Photo7

Editor's Pick

This Ain’t a Scene it’s a Goddamned Arm Wrestle

: Interior – Industrial Soviet Beerhall – Night It was late November and cold as hell when I stumbled into the Zhiguli Beer Hall. I was in Moscow, about to take the trans-Mongolian rail line to Beijing, and after finding someone in my hostel who could speak English, had decided