The Rights and obligations of tenants in New Zealand - what to do and what not to do.

Written by
Wallace Wang

20 August 2021

If tenants want to rent a house in New Zealand, they face many problems including; being unfamiliar with the rental market, language barriers, different living habits, etc. These will make it more difficult to rent a house. In addition, some tenants have suffered a lot because they don't know their rights and obligations when renting a house. Mission Property can assist you with learning about the rights and obligations of tenants while renting houses in New Zealand.


Lease regulations

Lease regulations: The main housing leasing law in New Zealand is the Housing Tenancy Act 1986 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) and the Housing Tenancy (Healthy Housing Standards) Regulations 2019, in which the important rights and responsibilities of house owners and tenants are specified, including boarding houses.


What rights and obligations should tenants in New Zealand abide by?


01. Tenant's obligations

What should tenants do?

  • Pay the rent on time (even if the tenant thinks the house owner has violated the lease agreement, he can't refuse to pay the rent.)
    Keep the house clean and tidy.
  • If the house has any damage or needs to be repaired, inform the house owner promptly.
  • Replace smoke alarm batteries during the lease period. (If it is an old-fashioned alarm with a replaceable battery), you should keep it working; if there is any problem with the smoke alarm, notify the house owner.
  • Repair the damage intentionally or carelessly caused by yourself or your visitor, or pay someone to repair it (if it is your responsibility). In case of damage to the rented house due to carelessness, you should bear the repair cost, and the amount shall not exceed the rent or insurance out-of-pocket amount for up to four weeks (whichever is lower). Tenants who pay rent according to their income should cover the cost of damaging the rented houses, and the amount shall not exceed the market rent or insurance out-of-pocket amount for up to four weeks (whichever is lower).
  • Pay all expenses incurred by living in the house, such as telephone, electricity, gas and internet.
  • If the water supplier charges according to the amount of water used, you need to pay the water fee.
  • Ensure that the number of people living in the house does not exceed the number allowed by the lease agreement (excluding short-term visitors).
  • Provide notice to the house owner, the agent of a person or house owner, or other tenants in the house or neighbours. 28 days before moving out (if there is no fixed-term lease).
  • It is allowed for the house owner to show potential tenants, real estate agents, buyers or valuers at the convenience of both the house owner and tenants.
  • Move out at the end of the lease and take away all your belongings, keep the house in good ventilation, return all keys, access cards and garage door remote controls. Do not take away any belongings of the house owner.



What can't tenants do?

  • Prevent the house owner from entering the house under the permission of the Act.
  • Stay in the rented house after the lease ends.
  • Engage in antisocial or threatening behaviour that jeopardises the peace, comfort or privacy of other tenants and neighbours or allowsothers in the rented house to do so.
  • Damage or allow damage to property by persons who are allowed to enter the house by the tenant, whether intentionally or carelessly.
  • Refurbish the building, modify the building or the additions of the building (unless such modification is specified in the lease agreement or with the written consent of the house owner).
  • Destroy fire escape facilities-for example, remove or disconnect smoke alarms.
  • Sublet the house to someone else (except with the written consent of the house owner).
  • Threaten or attack, or allow others to threaten or attack the house owner or his house
  • Conduct illegal acts in the house, or let others do so.
    Change locks without the consent of the house owner.


02. Tenant's rights

The Housing Leasing Amendment law became official in August 2020, and most of the amendments came into effect in February 2021. After the amendment comes into effect, tenants will have the following rights:



  • Tenants have the right to enjoy the house quietly and live in rented houses that comply with all building, health and safety regulations.
  • The house owner shall not confiscate the tenant's belongings for any reason.
  • The house owner should not terminate the contract without reason. The lease cannot be cancelled without legal reasons. Based on different situations, the house owner must notify the tenant 63 days or 90 days in advance before the tenant can move out, while the tenant can notify the house owner 28 days in advance to move out.
  • The house owner can only raise the rent once a year, and he must consider all the requests of the tenant to transfer the lease to others.


If you have read this article, we believe that you understand your responsibilities and obligations and can use these tips to avoid unnecessary disputes.


We encourage you to rent a house with the help of the right property management company.

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