Wellington students get $1400 bill for adding replacement housemates to their lease

A group of students flatting together in Wellington received a shock when they were asked to pay a large sum of money to replace outgoing flatmates on their tenancy agreement.

When two flatmates moved out of the house those remaining knew they would need to replace them in order to be able to continue paying the rent.

"Our contract states that we can't have anybody subletting so instead of just bringing two people in and letting them pay their portion of the lease we put them on the tenancy agreement," flatmate Finn Carroll said.

This seemingly innocuous piece of admin then led to a whole lot of headaches after they let property manager Oxygen know about the situation.

An email response from Oxygen read in part: "To add a new tenant to a tenancy requires a lot more work and inevitably a letting fee will need to be paid (1 week rent + GST)."

This works out to a fee of $1437.50, which is the same letting fee the students paid when they moved in during February.

"I don't know why they're charging us this much, it seems kind of arbitrary," Finn said.

TVNZ1's Seven Sharp has spoken with Oxygen and they said "letting fee" was the wrong term, rather it was an "admin fee".

They said it was something akin to going to the mechanics, or using a plumber, if you require services, like the admin involved in adding tenants to an agreement, there's a charge involved.

While administration fees are allowed to be asked for by property management agencies, if tenants have concerns they should approach their landlords.

Property managers Oxygen say the "admin fee" is justified due to the work needed in adding tenants to an agreement. Source: Seven Sharp