Find out about your rights and responsibilities under tenancy law and download an information pack for new landlords.
You will get the most out of your rental property if you plan carefully and understand all your rights and responsibilities.
The property must be lawful and in good condition
Your property must meet all legal requirements before being rented out. This includes requirements around buildings, health, and safety. Make sure any maintenance or repairs are done before tenants move in.
All rental properties must have working smoke alarms and ceiling and underfloor insulation.
Healthy homes standards
Landlords also need to consider how they will comply with the healthy homes standards. All private rentals must comply within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy after 1 July 2021, with all private rentals complying by 1 July 2024.
All boarding houses must comply by 1 July 2021. All houses rented by Housing New Zealand and registered Community Housing Providers must comply by 1 July 2023.
There are some things landlords need to do now:
- Landlords must keep records of all documents that show how they are complying with the healthy homes standards
- Landlords must include a separately signed statement in all new renewed or varied tenancy agreements that they will comply with the healthy homes standards. This is in addition to the requirement for a separately signed insulation statement.
If you rent out an unlawful property you are breaching your obligations. You could be ordered by the Tenancy Tribunal to repay rent and other amounts, such as compensation or penalties to the tenant.
Properties which have been found by the Tenancy Tribunal to be unlawful for residential purposes include:
- properties with unconsented building work. These are in breach of the Building Act 2004
- dwellings which breach the relevant District Plan (eg, there are extra dwellings on one title)
- where the code compliance for the building limits its use (eg, to an office or outbuilding only)
- the dwelling has been deemed by the local council to be "insanitary" under the Building Act 2004
- using the property for residential purposes is outside the scope of a resource consent. This breaches the Resource Management Act 1991.
It’s good to know who to call when you need help. Having contacts set up in advance can save time and headaches. Useful contacts to have are:
- a credit check agency
- a local property investors association.
Rent payments and insurance
Work out how much rent to charge, and have a separate bank account ready for it. If you rely on this account for any automatic payments (such as rates, insurance or mortgage) it is best to have a buffer in case the rent doesn’t go in when expected.
Make sure you have the right insurance, and you understand the requirements of your policy.
Finding tenants and starting a tenancy
Before finding tenants to move in you’ll need:
Once you’ve chosen tenants, make sure there’s no legal reason stopping the tenant from moving in on the date the tenancy agreement says they can.
Build a good relationship with your tenant straight away. Use the initial property inspection to talk about the condition of the property. Let them know how often you’ll do inspections and make sure they have your contact details.
It’s important for both landlords and tenants to keep accurate receipts and records related to the tenancy. These can help clear up any issues. Landlords must also keep records for tax purposes, and to comply with healthy homes standards.
Landlord information pack
Our landlord information pack will help you get off to a positive start. It includes:
- your rights and responsibilities under the law
- what to check for when choosing tenants
- taking and lodging bond money
- the forms you need to manage your property
- how to keep track of rent payments
- what to do if your tenant breaches the tenancy law
- how to get help from us if you need it.