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.

Residential tenancy agreement template

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

The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA) covers service tenancies. All the standard rules apply, except for a couple of differences.

To understand the basics, download the service tenancy guide. [PDF, 728 KB]

Rent can be deducted from the tenant’s wages

The landlord may deduct 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 or engagement ends or is transferred. The notice period is different to other tenancies.

A landlord can only give notice to end a service tenancy if the tenant’s employment or engagement has ended or is due to end. A notice to end the service tenancy cannot generally take effect before the employment or engagement ends or before the transfer occurs.

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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