Learn about the requirements for boarding house tenancies, including what needs to be in the boarding house tenancy agreement and about house rules.
On this page:
- Tenancy agreements for a boarding house
- House rules
- Charging a bond
- Charging rent and rent increases
- Boarding houses and the healthy homes standards
- Download the ‘Live in a boarding house? Know your rights’ guide.
Tenancy agreements are contracts between a landlord and tenant(s). All tenancy agreements must be in writing, signed and have some essential information. There are also additional statements, for example a healthy homes standards compliance statement and an insurance statement, that landlords must sign and attach to all new tenancy agreements.
A boarding house tenancy agreement is similar to a standard tenancy agreement, but must also include:
- if the tenancy is intended to last for 28 days or more
- the landlord’s phone number
- the room number that the agreement is for
- whether the room is shared by other tenants, and if so, the maximum number of tenants that may occupy the room
- whether the tenancy is a joint tenancy, and the names of the other people in the room
- services (if any) the landlord provides
- the name, contact address and phone number of the boarding house manager (if different to the landlord)
- a description of the fire evacuation procedures.
Adding conditions to the tenancy agreement
Landlords can add extra conditions to a boarding house tenancy agreement if they relate to things that may damage the house or cause extra wear and tear.
Landlords can’t add conditions that breach the law.
Examples of conditions that would breach the law include:
- requiring carpets must be professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy
- requiring the tenant to install smoke alarms that meet the legal requirements.
A boarding house landlord can make house rules. These set out any provided services, along with how to use and enjoy the facilities. House rules could include:
- rules about tidying up after yourself in shared spaces
- what furniture is provided and how to look after it
- rules about respecting other’s quiet enjoyment of the house, for example no loud music after a certain time.
The landlord must give the tenants(s) at least 7 days’ written notice of any rule changes before it comes into effect.
The landlord must give the tenant a copy of the rules at the start of the tenancy. They should also display copies around the boarding house.
The house rules can’t breach the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA) or any other law (e.g. the Human Rights Act or the Privacy Act). If a tenant believes a house rule breaches the law, the tenant can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal.
A landlord can ask tenants to pay a bond when they move into a property.
The bond is money that could cover:
- unpaid rent
- damage to the property
- any claim(s) relating to the tenancy.
Tenants who have looked after the room, paid rent in full, and paid any amounts owing should get a refund of their bond when the tenancy ends.
Boarding house landlords who charge a bond:
- must lodge bonds that are greater than one weeks’ rent with Tenancy Services within 23 working days of receiving it.
- must give the tenant a receipt.
The maximum bond that a landlord can ask for is up to the equivalent of 4 weeks’ rent.
A landlord can ask for 1 or 2 weeks’ rent in advance during the tenancy.
It is unlawful for a landlord to ask the tenant to pay more than 2 weeks’ rent in advance. A landlord also can’t ask for the next rent payment until all the paid rent has been used up.
A landlord of a boarding house must give at least 28 days’ written notice before increasing the rent. Rent can only be increased once every 12 months and not less than 12 months from the start of the tenancy.
Boarding houses (except those operated by Kāinga Ora or a Community Housing Provider) must meet the healthy homes standards. This has been a requirement since 1 July 2021.
The healthy homes standards are specific and provide the minimum standards for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, and draught stopping in rental properties.
If a boarding house does not meet the healthy homes standards when it is required to, they may be liable for a penalty of $7,200.
Landlords must also include a healthy homes standards compliance statement in any new or renewed boarding house tenancy agreements. This has been a requirement since 1 December 2020. We have a template you can use for this.