Updated on: 21 April 2022

What does the orange traffic light setting mean for landlords and tenants?

To find out what traffic light setting your region is at see the Unite Against COVID-19 website.(external link)

A My Vaccine Pass is no longer required but businesses are still able to use them if they would like to.

On this page:

Ending tenancies and moving house

Tenants can move to a new house as long as they follow appropriate public health guidance, such as physical distancing and mask wearing.

Tenants that are due to move to a new tenancy but are required to self-isolate should speak to their current and prospective landlords and try to reach an agreement that works for everyone. For example, the new landlord may agree to postpone the start date of the new tenancy so the tenant can complete their self-isolation before moving.

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.

Find out more about tenancy termination restrictions if people are required to stay at home.(external link)

Self-isolation

Everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and everyone who lives with them 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 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 houses or share-house living arrangements

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.

Property inspections, maintenance and viewings

Property inspections

In-person inspections of rental properties can take place. It is recommended everyone follows public health guidance of physical distancing. Wearing face masks is encouraged but not required.

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 and mask wearing. Alternatively, the tenants can take photos of the property’s condition before leaving.

Maintenance

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. 

Tradespeople may enter people’s homes to do any necessary repair or maintenance work. It is recommended everyone follows public health guidance such as physical distancing. Wearing face masks is encouraged but not required. 

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.

For more information visit WorkSafe's website(external link)

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.

Property viewings

In-person property viewings, including open homes, can happen as long as public health measures are followed, such as physical distancing. Landlords and/or agents are required to wear a face mask during the property viewing if physical distancing cannot be maintained. People attending the viewing are encouraged to wear a face mask but are not required to under the Orange framework. If the property being viewed is tenanted, landlords will need consent from the tenants and need to ensure any reasonable conditions the tenant has, are complied with, which may include use of face masks. 

Open homes can only take place with the tenants’ consent. There are no limits on how many people can attend an open home. Agents can choose whether to use My Vaccine Passes at an open home.  

Open homes can take place remotely, but if an agent needs to be at the property then they will need the tenants’ consent. 

For information on auctions visit the Real Estate Authority's website.

The Real Estate Authority's website(external link)

Read more information about access when the property is being sold

Disputes

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. Under the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Vaccination Policy, anyone entering our premises will be asked to show a valid My Vaccine Pass upon entry. Mediation over teleconference is available if you are not able to meet this requirement.

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.

You will be required to wear a face mask when at the Tenancy Tribunal. A judicial officer may use their discretion regarding the use of face masks in the room where the hearing is held.

For more information about how the Tenancy Tribunal will operate visit the Ministry of Justice's website(external link)

Rent

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.

Guidance for rent negotiation discussions

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:

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 services

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.

Find out more about bonds

Options if you don’t have access to a printer to print your bond form

If you don’t have access to a printer under the restrictions, you can email bonds@tenancy.govt.nz and we will come back to you to explain the options. Please include your full property address or bond number in the email.

If the bond is not urgent, you can also wait until after the restrictions are lifted, to print and sign your completed forms.

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