Skip to content.


Do you want to receive the Landlord newsletters? Subscribe to our mailing list »

Landlord newsletter

Issue No. 8 - March 2009

In this issue we cover:

Disposing of abandoned goods

Landlords must be absolutely certain that a tenancy has been terminated before disposing of abandoned goods, says Department of Building and Housing Client Services Manager Jeff Montgomery.

There has been an increase in termination cases involving property left behind by tenants, he says. The critical first step is to ensure that the tenancy has been terminated.

This will be clear when a landlord has obtained an order terminating the tenancy for whatever reason, be it abandonment of the premises or for another breach. A periodic tenancy may also be terminated when the correct notice period given by either party or the term in a fixed-term tenancy expires.

‘But sometimes departing tenants forget to take things,’ says Jeff.

If a landlord moves to dispose of the tenants items too quickly and the tenant returns to collect them, then there is a potential claim against the landlord for compensation.

That will depend on what sort of things have been left behind. The Residential Tenancies Act sets out different steps a landlord can take depending on whether items are perishable or not.

The best way to avoid any potential claim is to get a Disposal Order for the abandoned goods. Try to get in touch with the tenant to get them to take their things with them. Give them a reasonable but strict time to do so. Record your communications in writing. If this doesn’t work, you can then use this as supporting evidence and make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal for a Disposal Order under s62 of the Act.

Another advantage of disposing of goods in this way is that a landlord to recover disposal costs and expenses from the bond.

Back to Top

Do you use a Property Manager?

Information to help you select a property manager for free is available at

The Government is also reviewing how the property management is regulated. You can make a submission on areas of law that are causing problems for property owners who use property managers. You can find out more at  

Back to Top

Distinguishing assigning from subletting

The Department’s standard tenancy agreement has a provision on the reverse of the form stating that ‘if not expressly prohibited then a tenant may sublet or assign with the landlord’s consent’. Many landlords do include an express prohibition on subletting and assigning. If you know the difference you will understand the degree of liability and risk you are prepared to agree to if things go wrong in the future. Understanding the difference between assigning a tenancy and subletting a tenancy is important.

Experienced landlords often name every tenant in the tenancy agreement from the outset. For the sake of understanding this area of the relationship better, you can think of those tenants as the ‘original tenants’.

If a landlord consents to an original tenant subletting to a new tenant, the original tenant remains directly and contractually related to the landlord. The new subletting tenant has a direct contractual relationship with the original tenant.

Typically in a sub-lease, the landlord consents to the sub-lease on the same terms as the original tenancy agreement. The new sub-leasing tenant has to comply with all the usual tenant obligations owed to the landlord.

Often this type of situation arises when an original tenant wants to find a new tenant to join them in the property, perhaps letting one of the rooms. If the new subletting tenant was in breach of the tenancy agreement for the room or area sublet and the original tenant did not help to rectify the breach, the landlord could potentially include both tenants in any Tribunal application.

If a landlord consents to an original tenant assigning the tenancy, then the new tenant becomes directly and contractually related to the landlord. The original tenant assigns their interest to that new tenant and no longer has an ongoing contractual relationship with the landlord.

Back to Top

New landlords - seminars

The Department holds popular and successful seminars targeting newer landlords to help them learn about managing their tenancies. Find out more about our national seminar here

Back to Top

Tip for a landlord letting a unit title property

As a proprietor of a unit title property, a landlord has obligations to other owners in the unit title development and to the body corporate governing it. The body corporate rules also set out some obligations on ‘occupiers’ of the unit title properties.

Sometimes a landlord and tenant enter the tenancy agreement for a unit title property thinking the tenancy agreement is the only contractual relationship. Currently there is nothing in the tenancy agreement about whether the tenant has to comply with any other special set of rules that might apply to the property.

A good idea for landlords is to attach a copy of the body corporate rules to the tenancy agreement and point out the provisions which apply to ‘occupiers’. Landlords could also include a simple clause in the tenancy agreement stating that ‘both parties acknowledge the property is a unit title development property and that the body corporate rules attached to the tenancy agreement shall be abided by both parties’.

Back to Top

Landlord-of-the-Year Award

The New Zealand Property Investors’ Federation is again offering an award to recognise the professionalism of landlords who are members of affiliated property investors’ associations.

For details about entering, go to the NZ Property Investors’ Federation website and download the entry form. The closing date is 13 July 2009. The winners and runners-up will be announced at the Federation’s conference dinner on 15 August 2009.

Back to Top

Are you a ‘reluctant’ landlord?

With the housing and rental markets changing rapidly, many people unable to sell their homes have chosen to rent them out instead. The Auckland Property Investors’ Association is holding a special seminar with a panel of experienced speakers to help this sort of landlord.

The seminar will be held in the Rutherford Room at Alexandra Park, Greenlane Road West on Tuesday 24 March, starting at 7pm. You can find out more at

Back to Top

Helping tenants in tough times

A new nationwide freephone budgeting service has been established and some landlords are finding it useful for tenants who may be experiencing financial difficulties.

By dialling 0508 BUDGETLINE (0508 283 438) you can talk to an experienced, certificated budget adviser who can offer personal, confidential budget advice and give information about how a local budget service might help you.

This freephone service is provided by the New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services, and operates from 8.00am-4.30pm Monday to Friday.

You can also visit the Federation’s website for more information about their budgeting services.

Back to Top

Weathertight claims – the 10-year eligibility rule

Only homes built or altered in the last 10 years are eligible for compensation through the weathertight home resolution service. This means that many homes built in 1999 are about to become ineligible, and those built in 2000 will become ineligible during next year.

It is important to inspect your property for weathertight problems, especially if your property was built using monolithic cladding, has untreated timber framing, lacks a cavity within internal walls, has areas with no eaves or has a design that includes parapets, balconies or a complex design.

If you own a home that is, or may be, subject to weathertight issues you need to take action now. For more information about making a weathertight claim call 0800 32 44 77, or go to our website

Back to Top