Rent is the money paid by the tenant for the right to live in a property. 

Although rent is usually money, rent may also include any goods or services charged for the right to live in a property. Rent doesn’t include any money paid or owed as a bond.

Important COVID-19 information on rent increases:

As of 26 March 2020, there is a freeze on rent increases. This will apply for an initial period of six months, from 26 March until 25 September 2020. This means that landlords can't increase rent for their rental properties until after 25 September 2020.

If a rent increase was negotiated or served prior to 26 March 2020, but it did not come into effect until after that date, then that increase is of no effect (there is no rent increase).

Rent increases that took effect before 26 March 2020 remain in place.

Rent increase notices can be given now provided the increase takes effect after the six-month freeze period (after 25 September 2020, unless the legislation is extended).

If a landlord increases the rent or tries to increase the rent during the rent-freeze timeframe, they may be liable for exemplary damages of up to $6,500.

Landlords and tenants can agree to lower the rent temporarily. This could be for a specific time period or until a specific event occurs. Once that time is up, the rent returns to the original amount. Returning rent to the original level is not a rent increase, so is not caught by the rent increase freeze.

Landlords and tenants should talk to each other, work together and take care of each other wherever possible. Try to come to an arrangement that suits everyone.

More information about this announcement

Information on Rent Arrears Assistance (Work and Income)(external link)

Tenants and landlords both need to understand how rent is charged and paid.

It’s very important for landlords and tenants to keep accurate records about the tenancy.

Rent can be increased by a landlord if the correct notice period is followed and certain conditions are met. Rent can also be reduced.

Tenants and landlords need to know what to do when rent is overdue, and where they can go for help.

Many people’s situations have changed as New Zealand has progressed through the different lockdown levels in response to COVID-19. As a result, there may be a need for tenants and landlords to discuss and negotiate rents. Tenancy Services has provided some guidance on rent discussions to help you during this time.