Tenants’ bonds top $1m

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Local average 10% higher than nationally.

Wakatipu rental properties have racked up more than $1.2 million in tenancy bonds.

The Department of Building & Housing holds the money from a registered 1233 rental properties in Queenstown, Arrowtown, Frankton, Lake Hayes Estate and Kelvin Heights, according to figures released to Mountain Scene.

It might seem a lot but it’s only a drop in the pond nationwide – the country’s total tenancy bond fund stands at $273m from 425,000 bonds.

Bonds – collected by DBH’s Tenancy Service – consist of three weeks’ rent on average but can be up to four weeks, says DBH client services boss Jeff Montgomery.

The money’s stored in term deposits and other financial instruments managed under an “investment strategy”, he says.

“We hold the bond until the landlord and the tenant ask them to be released which is often [for] six months or a year, depending on how long the tenancy lasts for.”

Interest generated from the bond money goes to the government – it’s a scheme that’s been running for more than 20 years, says Montgomery.

“[The interest on the tenancy bonds is] used to fund the advice, education and dispute resolution services that we provide.”

These include the 0800 TENANCY number for landlord and tenant advice, seminars for landlords, brochures and a new comprehensive Get it Right – A Landlord’s Guide to Pract­­­ical Property Management CD-
Rom.

“All of this is available free of charge and the idea is to stop landlords and tenants getting in trouble. If they do get into trouble then they can access our mediation service and, if all else fails, the Tenancy Tribunal,” he says.

“All of that’s funded from the interest on the bond funds.”

The average bond held nationally is $899 while Queenstown’s is 10.6 per cent higher at $995.