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Boarding house tenancy rules

The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2010 also covers boarding houses.

A boarding house is a residential premises that contains one or more boarding rooms, with facilities for communal use by the tenants and is occupied, or intended to be occupied by at least six tenants at any one time.

A boarding house tenancy is a residential tenancy in a boarding house that is intended to, or that does in fact, last 28 days or more. The boarding house tenant is granted exclusive rights to occupy particular sleeping quarters and has the right to the shared use of the facilities of the boarding house.

This section covers:


  • A boarding house landlord can ask for a bond of up to 4 weeks rent and must provide the tenant a receipt forthwith.
  • A boarding house landlord must lodge the bond with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Empoyment within 23 working days, unless the bond is the equivalent to one week’s rent or less.


  • Boarding house landlords can increase rent with 28 days’ written notice.

Tenancy agreement

A boarding house landlord must provide tenants with a written tenancy agreement. This should include:

  • whether the tenancy will last more than 28 days
  • one or more telephone numbers for the landlord
  • the boarding room number
  • stipulate if there are any other tenants in the boarding room, and if so, how many
  • a statement of whether the tenancy is a joint tenancy and, if so, the names of the other people who will occupy the boarding room
  • services to be provided by the landlord that are included in rent (if any)
  • if the premises are to be managed by a person other than the landlord, the name an contact details of that person
  • fire evacuation procedures.

House rules

A boarding house landlord may make house rules relating to the use and enjoyment of the premises or services:

  • a copy must be provided to the tenant at the start of the tenancy
  • a copy must be on display in the premises at all times
  • landlord to give 7 days notice to change the house rules.

A boarding house tenant may apply to the Tribunal for an order:

  • declaring a house rule to be unlawful
  • that a house rule be applied in a particular way, varied or set aside.


A boarding house landlord must:

  • provide and maintain sufficient locks to ensure premises are reasonably secure
  • ensure tenants have access to their room, toilet and bathroom facilities at all times
  • advise any tenant who will be affected by altering, adding or removing any lock.

A boarding house tenant:

  • must not interfere with any lock without the landlords consent
  • must return all keys provided by the landlord on termination of the tenancy.

Rights of entry

A Boarding house landlord may enter the boarding house at any time.

A boarding house landlord may enter a boarding room without notice:

  • With the tenants consent freely given at, or immediately before the time of entry (if the room is shared, this means the consent of any tenant of the room)
  • if the landlord believes on reasonable grounds that there is an emergency, or that there is serious risk to life or property, and immediate entry is necessary to reduce or eliminate that risk or save life or property
  • where entry is necessary to provide services that the landlord and tenant have agreed to, as long as entry is in accordance with the conditions of the agreement or house rules
  • in accordance with an order from the Tenancy Tribunal.

A boarding house landlord may enter a boarding room, after giving 24 hours’ written notice to the tenant (or to each tenant if the room is shared):

  • to inspect the room, if no entry for that purpose has been made within the last 4 weeks
  • to inspect the room, if the landlord believes the tenant has abandoned the rooms, or breached the Act in another way
  • to show the room to a prospective tenant or purchaser,
  • where entry is necessary to enable the landlord to fulfill their obligations under the Act
  • to inspect work the landlord required the tenant to carry out, or the tenant agreed to carry out
  • to show the room to a registered valuer, real estate agent or building inspector engaged in the preparation of a report.

When entering a boarding room, the boarding house landlord:

  • must not interfere with the tenants property, unless it is necessary to achieve the purpose of entry
  • must do so in a reasonable manner
  • must not use or threaten to use unauthorised force
  • must not stay in the room longer that is necessary to achieve the purpose of entry

Ending a boarding house tenancy


A boarding house tenant may terminate a tenancy with 48 hours’ notice.

A boarding house landlord may terminate a tenancy:

Immediately if the tenant has caused or threatened to cause:

  • serious damage to the premises or
  • danger to people or property or
  • serious disruption to other residents.

With 48 hours’ notice if:

  • the tenant fails to remedy rent arrears within 10 days of receiving a notice to do so
  • the tenant has used or permitted the premises to be used for an illegal purpose
  • the rent is in arrears and the landlord considers on reasonable grounds the tenant has abandoned the room, after inspecting the room and, if possible, making contact with the tenants contact person.

With 28 days’ notice in any other case.