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Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2010

30 September 2010: The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) defines the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants of residential properties. New Zealand has changed significantly since 1986 – from the technology we use, to the cars we drive, to the way we live. People are renting for longer, and the demographic of tenants has changed over time. This led to a review of the RTA to ensure it continues to work well both now and in the future.

The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2010 has made some important changes including updating and clarifying the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, and extending the Act's coverage to include boarding house landlords and tenants. The Department of Building and Housing administers the Act, which comes into force on 1 October 2010.

The Department has updated its information and resources to reflect the changes outlined in the Amendment Act.

The tenancy agreement and a range of new bond forms will be available after 1 October 2010.

Renting and you – this guide provides a comprehensive overview of the Residential Tenancies Act, outlining important rights and responsibilities for landlords and tenants including those in boarding houses. This guide is a must have for all landlords and tenants and will be available from 1 October.

Dispute resolution toolkit – this toolkit offers landlords and tenants guidance on how to prevent and sort out tenancy problems, without having to make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal.

Property managers toolkit – this toolkit is designed to help property managers manage their properties more effectively, allowing you to get the best results for your client and your tenants.

Information sheets – a range of information sheets on numerous topics are available from our website. Topics include bonds, rental payments, notices to remedy, online tools and abandoned premises.

The Department also distributes a quarterly Landlord newsletter. You can subscribe to this free bulletin here

If you have any questions about the Residential Tenancies Act, call 0800 TENANCY (0800 83 62 62).

A copy of the Amendment Act can be viewed hereLink to New Zealand Legislation website. .

Some of the changes to the Act include:

  • Real Estate agents and property managers are now referred to as letting agents. All letting agents can now charge a letting fee.
  • A fixed-term tenancy now reverts to a periodic tenancy on the date the fixed-term tenancy ends, unless either the landlord or the tenant gives notice to the contrary between 21 and 90 days before the fixed-term tenancy expires.
  • If there is a right in the tenancy agreement to renew or extend the tenancy and the tenant wishes to renew or extend the tenancy, the tenant must write to the landlord advising them at least 21 days before the tenancy is due to end.
  • Landlords and tenants must always provide a physical street address as an Address for Service, but can now add an email address, PO Box number or a fax number as an alternate Address for Service.
  • If a landlord is going to be absent from New Zealand for more than 21 consecutive days, they must appoint a New Zealand based agent, notify their tenants of the agents’ details and the Bond Centre, if a bond is held.
  • Tenancy agreements on unit title properties are now subject to body corporate rules.
  • A 10 working days notice (a notice to remedy a breach of the tenancy) will change to a 14 consecutive days notice. This means the other party now has 14 consecutive days to fix the problem.
  • New rules have been added for termination of a tenancy by notice:
    • to issue a 42 days’ notice if the owner of the premises or a member of the owner’s family must require the premises as their principal place of residence
    • in the case of the tenant being given less than 90 days’ notice, the notice to terminate must set out the reasons for the termination.
  • New rules have been added for landlords dealing with abandoned goods.
  • A number of unlawful acts have been added including:
    • failure of the tenant, to quit the premises at the end of the tenancy, without reasonable excuse;
    • the tenant using the premises for unlawful purposes;
    • exceeding the maximum number of people who may reside at the property;
    • landlord’s failure to comply with their obligations regarding cleanliness, maintenance, relevant building, health and safety regulations;
    • interference with the supply of services, for example electricity.

In addition to these changes boarding house tenancies are now also covered by the Act.