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Residential Tenancies Act 1986

Outline of the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (R.T.A.)

Reprinted from Residential Tenancy Agreement Form

(Please refer to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 and amendments for the complete provisions)

For more help, contact your nearest Tenancy Services office.

Call Free 0800 836 262



Each party should retain a copy of the tenancy agreement. 

Changes in the particulars of either party must be notified to the other party within 10 working days.

2.Address for service

The address for service is an address in New Zealand where notices and other documents relating to the tenancy will be accepted by you or on your behalf, even after the tenancy has ended. 

The address for service cannot be a post office box.


Landlords shall not require rent to be paid more than two weeks in advance, nor until rent already paid has been used up. 

60 days written notice must be given for rent increases. 

Rent shall not be increased within 180 days of the start of the tenancy or the last rent increase.  Also for rent to be increased in a fixed term tenancy it must be stated in the tenancy agreement.

A tenant may only be charged rent, bond and solicitor's or real estate agent's fees for setting up or assigning the tenancy. 

Receipts must be given immediately if rent is paid in cash.


The bond covers any damage or loss to the landlord if the tenant's obligations are not met, but does not cover fair wear and tear. 

A bond is not compulsory but a landlord may require a bond of up to four weeks rent. 

Bonds must be lodged with the Bond Centre within 23 working days of being paid. 

If the property is sold the landlord's rights with regard to the bond pass to the purchaser of the property. 

Receipts must be given for bond payments.

5.Landlord's responsibilities 

Provide and maintain the premises in a reasonable condition. 

Allow the tenant quiet enjoyment of the premises. 

Comply with all building, health and safety standards that apply to the premises. 

Pay  rates and any insurance taken out by the landlord.(NB:*) 

Not seize the tenant's goods for any reason. 

Inform the tenant if the property is on the market for sale. 

Not interfere with the supply of any services to the premises.

6.Tenant's responsibilities 

Pay the rent on time. 

Keep the premises reasonably clean and tidy, and notify the landlord as soon as any repairs are needed. 

Tenants may not withhold rent if they cannot get repairs done.  Seek advice from Tenancy Services (0800 836 262).

Use the premises principally for residential purposes. 

Pay electricity, gas and telephone charges. 

For tenancies starting after 1/12/96 pay for water supplied to the premises if 

   1.It is stated in the tenancy agreement that the tenant shall pay water charges:

   2.The premises has its own water meter:

   3.The water supplier charges for water on the basis of metered usage.

Not damage or permit damage to the premises and to inform the landlord of any damage. (NB:*)

Not disturb the neighbours or the landlord's other tenants.

*(NB: Any insurance taken out by the landlord is unlikely to cover the tenant's liability for damage.)

Not alter the premises without the landlord's written consent.

Not use the property for any unlawful purpose.

Leave the property clean and tidy and clear of rubbish and possessions at the end of the tenancy.

At the end of the tenancy leave all keys and such things with the landlord. 

Leave all chattels supplied with the tenancy.

If a maximum number of occupants is stated in the tenancy agreement, not exceed that number. 


7.Rights of entry 

The landlord shall enter the premises only:

·With the tenant's consent at the time of entry:

·In an emergency

·For repairs or maintenance from 8am to 7pm after 24 hours' notice:

·For an inspection of the property or work done by the tenant from 8am to 7 pm after 48 hours' notice:

·With the tenant's prior consent to show the premises to prospective tenants, purchasers or a registered  valuer. 

Consent may not be unreasonably  withheld but reasonable  conditions may be imposed.

8.Subletting and assignment  

If not expressly prohibited by the landlord the tenant may sublet or assign with the landlord's prior written consent. 

Consent may not be unreasonably withheld unless subletting is totally prohibited by this agreement.


Can only be changed with agreement of both the tenant and the landlord.  Should be provided and maintained in a secure state by the landlord.

10.Notice to terminate tenancy  NB:  This does not apply to fixed term tenancies

In all cases the tenant must give the landlord 21 days notice in writing. 

The landlord may give 42 days notice in writing if  (a)  the landlord has an agreement to sell the premises with vacant possession or (b)  the premises are required for occupation by the landlord or a member of  the landlord's family or  (c)  the premises are required  for an employee of the landlord and this has been agreed at the start of the tenancy. 

In other cases the landlord must give 90 days notice in writing.

11.Termination by Tribunal 

The landlord may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a termination order where: 

The rent is 21 days in arrears

The tenant has caused or threatened to cause substantial damage to the premises

The tenant has assaulted or threatened to assault the landlord, a member of the landlords's family, or a neighbour

The tenant has failed to comply with a ten day notice to remedy a breach

A tenant may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the tenancy terminated if a landlord has failed to comply with a ten day notice to remedy a breach.

12.Mitigation of Loss

If one party to the tenancy agreement breaches it, the other party must take all reasonable steps to limit the damage or loss arising from the breach.


This site is updated regularly, and every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct. We do not accept any responsibility for errors or omissions that may occur.

All amounts expressed are in New Zealand Dollars (NZ$) unless otherwise stated.

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