In a service tenancy, an employer provides accommodation for a worker to live in during their employment.  

All service tenancies need a written tenancy agreement. Even if the tenant doesn’t pay rent, it’s still a service tenancy.

The tenancy agreement can sometimes be part of the employment contract; but it’s better if they’re separate.

Residential tenancy agreement template

The Residential Tenancies Act covers service tenancies. All the standard rules apply, except for a couple of differences.

To understand the basics download the Service Tenancy guide. [PDF, 743 KB]

Rent can be deducted from the tenant’s wages

The landlord may take the rent directly from the tenant’s pay each week or fortnight. They can only do this if:

  • the tenant agrees;
  • it is in the employment contract; or
  • it complies with employment law.

If there is a longer pay period (eg, due to a holiday) the landlord can deduct the rent for that same longer period.

Ending a service tenancy

A service tenancy normally ends when the tenant’s employment ends. The notice period is different to other tenancies.

Giving notice to end a service tenancy

Other legal obligations

Employee rights (Employment New Zealand)(external link)

Safe working environments (Worksafe)(external link)

Worker accommodation (Worksafe)(external link)

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