All landlords and tenants have responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.
This page outlines the key responsibilities for both landlords and tenants. You can find out more about specific areas in the other sections of this website.
When renting out a property, landlords need to:
- make sure the property is in a reasonable condition
- let the tenant have quiet enjoyment of the property
- meet all relevant building, health and safety standards
- handle any abandoned goods in the correct way
- inform the tenant if the property is for sale
- have an agent if they are out of New Zealand for more than 21 days.
- seize the tenant’s goods for any reason
- interfere with the supply of any services to the premises, unless it is necessary to avoid danger to a person or to allow repairs.
If you’re a landlord at a boarding house, you will also have other responsibilities.
Usually, what you earn from renting out a property is classed as income. For more information on tax that may apply, visit the Inland Revenue website(external link).
When renting a property, tenants need to:
- pay the rent on time
- keep the property reasonably clean and tidy
- let the landlord know about any damage or repairs straight away
- pay for their own outgoings eg, electricity, gas and internet
- use the property mainly for residential purposes rather than business activities
- leave the property clean, tidy, and clear of rubbish and possessions
- leave all keys with the landlord when they move out
- leave all items that were supplied with the tenancy.
Tenants must not:
- stop paying rent if the landlord hasn’t done repairs
- damage the premises
- disturb the neighbours or the landlord’s other tenants
- make any alterations to the property without the landlord’s written consent
- use the property for any unlawful purpose
- have more than the maximum number of occupants listed in the tenancy agreement.
There are additional rules for tenants in boarding houses.
Landlords and tenants
Both landlords and tenants are responsible for:
- making sure the tenancy agreement is in writing
- keeping their contact details up to date
- not changing the locks without permission
If you are in a unit title property (eg an apartment or townhouse), you must also follow the body corporate rules(external link).
Renting to disabled tenants
Disabled people make up 24% of New Zealand's population. They have a wide range of diverse needs, and it's important that they have a safe, accessible place to live.
There is a range of services and support available that will help inform landlords on how to provide appropriate housing to disabled tenants. Some of these services are:
- Enable New Zealand(external link): provides disability services, equipment and modifications
- Federation of Disability Information Centres(external link): supports local disability information and referral services
- Life Unlimited(external link): supporting disabled people, including their housing needs
- Accessible Properties(external link): provide homes and property management services to people with disabilities, older people and those on low incomes
- CCS Disability Action(external link): a broad range of support services for disabled people, family and whanau.
Making changes to your rental home
Recent changes to tenancy law could make things easier for tenants with disabilities. From 11 February 2021, landlords can’t decline a tenant’s request to make changes to their rental property – as long as the change is minor.
This change will make it easier for tenants to add fixtures like grab rails, visual fire alarms or doorbells.
Renting and You guide
This guide outlines your rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act. It has important information for both landlords and tenants, including those in boarding houses.
Remember, this is only a guide. It doesn’t cover everything and it’s not the same as getting legal advice.
Short Guide to Good Renting
We also have a Short Guide to Good Renting available. This is a simplified version of the Renting and You guide.
If you need a hard copy of either of these publications, please contact us.