Tenancy agreement

Published: 12 May 2016

Under the Residential Tenancies Act, all tenancies entered into after 1 December 1996 must have a written Tenancy Agreement.

The landlord must provide a Tenancy Agreement which sets out the particular conditions that have been agreed to. Both the landlord and the tenant must sign it and the landlord must give the tenant a copy before the tenancy begins.

Our Responsibilities

If we enter into a tenancy agreement with you, we will:

  • make sure your house or flat is in good condition and that the locks and fastenings are adequate
  • make sure your house meets building codes and health and safety standards
  • arrange for essential repairs to be done as quickly as possible
  • give you 24 hours notice before doing any planned maintenance work
  • give you 48 hours notice before an inspection

Tenant Responsibilities

By signing the tenancy agreement, you agree that you will:

  • pay your rent on time
  • keep your house and garden tidy and not damage the property - if friends, family or visitors damage the property, you need to pay for the repairs
  • call us when repairs are needed
  • pay your phone and power bills, and for light bulbs
  • insure your furniture or belongings against damage, fire or theft
  • let us know immediately if your income, your partner's income or the number of people living in your house or flat changes - if you're paying income-related rent
  • leave the property clean and tidy, remove all your possessions, and return all sets of keys when you move out
  • consider your neighbours
  • not let anyone else rent your house or let anyone other than you and your family live there without our permission
  • not use the property for an unlawful purpose or let anyone else use it for unlawful purposes
  • not change the locks on your house or flat without our agreement

You need to keep your house in good condition and call us as soon as you can about any damage. You also need to pay for any damage caused, such as:

  • burns, stains, marks and scratches
  • accidents, such as broken windows
  • damage from building or repair work you have done
  • forced entry or damage that you may have caused.

If you lose your keys or lock yourself out you can either arrange a locksmith yourself or call us and we'll arrange a new key for you. There will be a charge for replacement keys.

Breach of Responsibilities

If you break the conditions of your agreement and it is something that can be fixed, we will ask you to fix the problem within 14 days.

If you don't fix the problem, we will ask the Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment for mediation or go direct to the Tenancy Tribunal to end your tenancy and get you to pay any money owed to us.

If you're having difficulty paying your rent, let us know. We may be able to help you with other subsidies such as:

  • more suitable arrangements to pay money you owe
  • offer suggestions to help you get budget advice.


Mediation is a way for people to sort out problems with the help of a trained, impartial person. The mediator will try to help the people in a dispute to come to an agreement that works for both parties. For more information about mediation, contact the Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment Tenancy Services(external link) on 0800 TENANCY (0800 83 62 62).

The Tenancy Tribunal

The Tenancy Tribunal is a court set up to deal with unresolved problems between tenants and landlords. We may apply for a Tenancy Tribunal Order if you:

  • owe more than 21 days' rent
  • have caused or threatened to cause substantial damage to your house or garden
  • have assaulted or threatened to assault a Housing New Zealand staff member or neighbour
  • have had 14 days' notice to do something under the tenancy agreement but haven't done it
  • have broken one or more of the terms of your tenancy agreement with us and the problem cannot be resolved
  • have used or allowed your house or flat to be used for illegal activities.
  • For more information about the Tenancy Tribunal, contact the Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment Tenancy Services(external link) on 0800 TENANCY (0800 83 62 62).

Independent advice for tenants

If you have a complaint or concern about Housing New Zealand, contact us in the first instance on 0800 801 601. If you're not satisfied with the result, you may decide to apply for mediation or to go to the Tenancy Tribunal. Application forms are available from all Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment offices. There is an application fee of $20.

The Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment(external link) also provides free advice for tenants.

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