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Change of landlord or tenant

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When a rental property is sold

A landlord must tell existing or prospective tenants if they put the property on the market. A landlord then has the right to bring buyers through if they have the consent of the tenant. The tenant can not unreasonably withhold their consent, but they can make their consent subject to reasonable conditions. Landlords and tenants need to work out what will suit them both. (Any agents contracted to sell the property must stick to those arrangements).

Once a property is sold, the old landlord must tell the tenants who the new owner is and when they take over.

If a property is sold when there is a fixed-term tenancy in place, the tenants are entitled to stay on until the end of that term under the same conditions. If, however, they wish to move, this is something that should be discussed with the new owners. Any agreement should be put in writing.

If the new owner chooses to continue with a periodic tenancy, then the same terms and conditions of the original tenancy apply. The new owner must let the tenant know their name, contact details, and address for service and where the rent is to be paid.

For a periodic tenancy, if the old owner is required to give the new owner vacant possession of the property, the old owner must give the tenant at least 42 day’s notice to terminate the tenancy.

If a bond is held by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the rights in the bond are transferred to the new owner and the Ministry must be advised of the change. Landlords and/or agents should fill in a Change of landlord/agent form when they take over a rental property where a bond has been lodged and the tenancy is going to continue. This should include both new and previous landlord names and signatures, and the bond number.

If the old landlord wants to make a claim against the bond, they must do so before the date of settlement or the date of possession, if earlier.

Read the information sheet Sale of rented premises »

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Mortgagee sale

If a property is sold by mortgagee sale and there is an existing tenancy, the existing tenancy is taken over by the mortgagee or the new owner. The rights of the landlord and tenant are the same, except that the mortgagee can only give notice once possession has been taken. A mortgagee sale will also override a fixed-term tenancy, with the mortgagee able to give notice as if the tenancy were periodic.

Read the information sheet Sale of rented premises – mortgagee sale »

Landlord leaving the country for 21 consecutive days

If the landlord is going out of New Zealand for more than 21 consecutive days they must appoint an agent in New Zealand. The landlord must also advise the tenant (and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment if a bond is held) of the agent’s details.

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Change of tenant

Generally the tenant can assign (transfer) the tenancy to another person if they have the landlord’s written consent. The landlord should not unreasonably withhold that consent, but can attach reasonable conditions on that consent. However, the landlord may include a clause in the tenancy agreement to prevent the tenant from assigning or subletting the tenancy at all, it must be mentioned in the tenancy agreement.

A boarding house tenancy can not be assigned.

If there is a change among the tenants, with one of the original tenants being replaced by someone else, this should be recorded in writing and signed by the landlord and all the tenants (including the departing tenant and the incoming tenant). A Change of tenant form needs to be completed as well and sent to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to update the tenant information recorded against the bond. If all the old tenants move out, a completed Bond refund form should be sent.

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