Updated on: 20 December 2021
What does the green traffic light setting mean for landlords and tenants?
Tenants can move to a new house as long as they follow appropriate public health guidance, such as physical distancing, mask wearing and contact tracing.
The Minister can apply restrictions to tenancy terminations if there are COVID-19 public health requirements to stay at home. These restrictions do not currently apply.
Everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and everyone who lives with them, and close contacts need to isolate from the community to help stop the spread of the virus.
Do not invite people to your home if you or anyone in your household is unwell or self-isolating.
Tenants are under no obligation to tell their landlord if they are self-isolating (eg if they have been to a location of interest) or sick with COVID-19.
If a tradesperson is required to go to the property to do repairs while the tenant is self-isolating, tenants should advise the landlord or tradesperson that they are self-isolating or unwell.
Tenants should also make sure any other tenants or flatmates are aware of the situation.
Follow the guidelines on the Ministry of Health's website.
Self isolation, managed isolation/quarantine(external link) — Ministry of Health
Information for people isolating in apartments(external link) - Ministry of Health
Boarding house tenants and landlords need to follow the self-isolation guidelines.
Stay home if you are sick(external link) — Unite against COVID-19
If you live in a boarding house, you should pay extra attention to the information on using shared facilities on the Ministry of Health website.
Guidance on self-isolation/managed isolation/quarantine(external link) - Ministry of Health
Boarding house landlords should consider changing the house rules to include the self-isolation guidance. Boarding house tenants must comply with the house rules and this may help reinforce the self-isolation requirement.
In-person inspections of rental properties can take place, as long as records are kept for contact tracing purposes. It is recommended everyone follows public health guidance of physical distancing and mask wearing.
Landlords and tenants should discuss and agree on whether in-person inspections are necessary. Tenants, who have genuine concerns about access into their home during this time, should talk to their landlord.
Tenants can’t refuse their unvaccinated landlord or property manager access to the property for inspections. Tenants who have concerns about their unvaccinated landlord or property manager should speak to their landlord to try to come up with an arrangement that works for everyone. For example, the tenants and landlord may agree to an arrangement where the inspection is carried out at the property while the tenants are not home.
If the inspection is not urgent, landlords and tenants may agree to postpone the inspection to a later date or carryout a virtual inspection if the tenants agree.
At the end of the tenancy, the landlord and tenant can do the final property inspection together following public health guidance on physical distancing, record keeping and mask wearing. Alternatively, the tenants can take photos of the property’s condition before leaving.
Landlords can enter the property to do any necessary repairs or maintenance. If the repairs or maintenance is not necessary then landlords will need to get the tenants' consent. Records must be kept for contact tracing purposes.
Tradespeople may enter people’s homes to do any necessary repair or maintenance work, as long as records are kept for contact tracing purposes. It is recommended everyone follows public health guidance such as physical distancing and mask wearing.
Landlords and tenants should discuss and agree on access requirements for any repair or construction work. Landlords need to give appropriate notice.
Tenants who have genuine concerns about access into their home during this time should talk to their landlord. For example, if they or someone they care for are at higher risk from COVID-19.
Tenants can’t refuse access to unvaccinated tradespeople who have been hired by the landlord to carry out necessary repairs or maintenance.
If the repairs or maintenance are not necessary, the landlord will require the tenant’s consent to access the property, and the tenant can refuse access for any reason, including vaccination status.
Tenants who have concerns about unvaccinated tradespeople should speak to their landlord to try to come up with an arrangement that works for everyone. For example, the tenants and landlord may agree to an arrangement where the repairs can be carried out at the property while the tenants are not home.
Landlords should consider their health and safety obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. As part of their risk assessment, landlords may identify that they should hire vaccinated tradespeople. This will depend on the circumstances, such as the vulnerability of the tenants and how close the tradesperson will be to people at the rental property.
If the maintenance or repairs are not urgent, landlords and tenants may agree to have the work completed at a later date.
Do not invite people to your home for maintenance or repairs if you or anyone in your household is unwell or self-isolating. Let the landlord know if they are organising maintenance.
In-person viewings can happen as long as you have the tenants' consent and public health measures are followed, such as physical distancing and record keeping. At property viewings, a QR code must be prominently displayed near the main entrance so people can record their visit.
Open homes can take place with the tenant’s consent. If My Vaccine Pass is used there are no limits on the size of these gatherings.
If My Vaccine Pass is not used, then open homes can still take place with up to 100 people and 1 metre physical distancing.
At open homes, a QR code must be prominently displayed near the main entrance so people can record their visit.
Open homes can take place remotely, but if an agent needs to be at the property then they will need the tenant’s consent.
Auctions are an event and therefore must follow event rules, unless the auction takes place at a private dwelling / home, in which case gatherings rules apply. Read guidance about auctions on The Real Estate Authority's website(external link)
Tenants and landlords are encouraged to talk to each other and to try to come up with a solution together. Where this is not possible, Tenancy Services will continue to accept and process applications for the Tenancy Tribunal or mediations.
Mediations will take place either face-to-face or by teleconference. If you have a face-to-face mediation scheduled, we will contact you to make sure all the appropriate public health measures can be followed.
The Tenancy Tribunal may hold hearings in person and by phone, dependent on what restrictions are in place. If you have a hearing scheduled, you will be notified via the Notice of Hearing to let you know how it will be held and what it means for you.
If there are any changes made after the hearing has been scheduled, you will be contacted by phone, email or text to let you know about the changes.
Due to loss of employment income, some tenants may experience issues paying their rent. Landlords should discuss any planned rent increases with their tenants and consider postponing rent increases if possible.
Tenancy Services has developed guidance for talking to your landlord/tenant about rent payment difficulties.
Tenants who can’t pay their rent should let their landlord know straight away. Be honest about the situation. Landlords and tenants may agree to a temporary rent reduction if tenants are having difficulty paying rent during COVID-19 restrictions.
If you are likely to continue having trouble, think about other options:
- You can get in touch with budgeting services, Work and Income or other agencies to see what support is available.
- The Government’s Wage Subsidy and Leave Payment scheme may be available to eligible employers and workers.
See the Unite against COVID-19 website for more information.(external link)
Tenants are still liable for rent and landlords can ask tenants to pay what is due. Landlords can also seek a monetary order from the Tribunal for rent arrears, but should try to reach an agreement with their tenants before taking this step.
Bond refunds and bond transfers will continue to be processed within 5 working days.
We will also continue to process bond lodgements, however, there may be delays whilst resources are being reprioritised for refunds and transfers.
If we need further information in order to process your request, we will contact you by phone, email or letter.