A tenancy agreement is a contract between a landlord and a tenant. It sets out everything that a landlord and a tenant have agreed to about the tenancy.
Tenancy agreements must be in writing, and the landlord must give the tenant a copy before the tenancy starts. However, even if there is no formal agreement in writing, the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act) still applies. Landlords and tenants can’t avoid their obligations by not putting their agreement in writing.
Tenants should read the tenancy agreement carefully before they sign it. This includes all the terms and conditions. If there’s anything they don’t understand, they should seek advice before they sign.
Tenancy agreement templates
We have tenancy agreement templates in PDF form for landlords to use.
We also have an online tenancy agreement builder that allows landlords to create and customise tenancy agreements.
Landlords can draw up their own tenancy agreement, as long as they include the minimum information required by the Act.
Landlords also need to include additional statements in their new tenancy agreements.
Tenancy agreement essentials
Every tenancy agreement must include the following:
- The full names and contact addresses of the landlord and tenant(s). Include email addresses and mobile phone numbers if you know them.
- The address of the rental property.
- The date the tenancy agreement is signed.
- The date the tenancy will begin.
- An address for service for both the landlord and the tenant.
- Whether the tenant is under the age of 18.
- The amount of any bond charged.
- The rent amount, and frequency of payments.
- How the rent will be paid (eg, bank account number).
- Any fees to be paid (if applicable).
- A list of any chattels (like furniture, curtains and other fittings) provided by the landlord.
- If the tenancy is a fixed-term tenancy, the date the tenancy will end.
- A separately signed insulation statement and healthy homes statement [PDF, 851 KB]. These statements can be combined, with one signature.
- An insurance statement [PDF, 811 KB].
- From 1 December 2020, a separately signed statement with details of the property’s current level of compliance with the healthy homes standards [PDF, 269 KB] (must be included with most new or renewed tenancy agreements). Some of this information will already be provided as part of the insulation statement and does not need to be completed again in the new compliance statement.
From 11 February 2021, landlords must keep the following documents during the tenancy and for 12 months after the end of the tenancy:
- Any variations of the tenancy agreement.
- Any reports of inspections carried out by or for the landlord during the tenancy.
- Records of any building work for which a building consent is required, prescribed electrical work, sanitary plumbing, gasfitting, or other maintenance or repair work carried out by or for the landlord during the tenancy.
- Any reports or assessments by a tradesperson of work that is carried out or required in relation to the landlord’s compliance with section 45 or section 66I of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.
- Records that relate to the landlord’s compliance with the healthy homes standards.
- Any advertisement for the tenancy (including an advertisement from before the start of the tenancy).
- Any notices or correspondence between a landlord (or a person acting on the landlord’s behalf) and:
- a tenant (or a person acting on the tenant’s behalf), or
- a prospective tenant (or a person acting on the prospective tenant’s behalf) in relation to the tenancy.
Not providing this information or providing false or misleading information is an unlawful act. If the landlord has made all reasonable efforts to get the required information, but couldn’t, they must make a statement to this effect.
Information about renting a unit or apartment(external link) — Unit Title Services website
Who should be on the agreement
All tenancy agreements should include the full legal names of the landlord and tenants.
For a person:
Write their full legal name on the tenancy agreement. Landlords should check the tenant’s identity before they move in. Download our pre-tenancy application form below.
For a company:
Write the legal company name. This might be different to the trading name or franchise holder name. For example, ‘Radley Design Ltd’ instead of ‘Joe Radley Design’.
For a trust:
Include the names of the trustees as well as the name of the trust. For example, Jane and Mary Brown as trustees for the Brown Family Trust.
If you have a property manager
If the property is managed by a property manager, write the names of both the owner and the property management company as landlord. For example, Smith Property Management as agent for Andrew Jones.
You can then record the property manager’s contact details as the landlord’s contact details.
If the owner isn’t on the agreement, the property manager takes on all the landlord’s responsibilities. They could be held responsible for:
- any Tenancy Tribunal orders issued in favour of the tenant
- paying any monetary orders issued by the Tenancy Tribunal
- any actions or non-actions of the owner.
It also means the owner may not be able to apply for enforcement on a Tenancy Tribunal order.
Adding extra conditions
Landlords can’t add any conditions they want to the tenancy agreement. Extra conditions must comply with the law.
Signing the agreement with an electronic signature
Electronic signatures may be used to sign a tenancy agreement if both parties agree. They are as valid as a traditional written signature if certain requirements are met.
Electronic signatures can take many forms, including a scanned or photographed image, or signing on a device using a stylus. There is a risk of them being intercepted and used by someone else, which can make them less secure than a traditional written signature.
A digital signature is a more secure form of electronic signature, which uses encryption to reduce the risk of it being copied or altered. Some computer software offers the use of a digital signature.
The legal requirements for electronic signatures are set out in the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017(external link).
Change of contact details
If your contact details change during the tenancy, you must give the other party your new contact details within 10 working days.
If we hold a bond for the tenancy, you must also let us know the new details within 10 working days.
Contact details include:
- phone number
- contact address
- email address
- address for service.
Making changes to a tenancy agreement
Sometimes, landlords and tenants may want to vary an agreement, or extend or renew the fixed-term tenancy agreement for a further period.
Agreements with flatmates
Agreements between tenants (and homeowners) and their flatmates aren’t covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. This means flatmates aren’t part of the tenancy agreement.
If you’re in this situation, you should still have a written record of what you’ve agreed to. You can use our flat-sharing agreement template for this.
Related tools and downloads
Residential tenancy agreement
For tenants & landlords
PDF 610 KB
Flat/house sharing agreement
PDF 63 KB
Flat/house sharing agreement
Word 42 KB
Boarding House Agreement
For tenants & landlords
PDF 398 KB
PDF 851 KB
PDF 269 KB
Pre-tenancy application form
PDF 57 KB
Healthy homes standards statement - boarding house tenancies
PDF 800 KB
Healthy homes standards statement – residential tenancies
PDF 799 KB
Live in a boarding house? Know your rights! (English)
PDF 571 KB