Landlords and tenants (including those in boarding houses) have important rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.

Below lists your main rights and responsibilities as a tenant under the Act when you rent a property in New Zealand.

Tenant’s responsibilities are to:

  • pay the rent on time as per the tenancy agreement

  • keep the premises reasonably clean and tidy

  • notify the landlord as soon as any repairs are needed

  • use the premises principally for residential purposes

  • pay for outgoings you actually consume or use, such as: electricity, gas, telephone charges and metered water

  • notify the landlord as soon as possible if any damage occurs

  • 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

Tenants must not:

  • withhold rent if the landlord cannot get repairs done

  • damage or permit damage to the premises

  • disturb the neighbours or the landlord’s other tenants

  • alter or attach anything to the premises without the landlord’s written consent

  • use the property for any unlawful purpose

  • exceed the maximum number of occupants as stated in the tenancy agreement.

Additional rules and responsibilities apply to tenants in boarding house tenancies. 

Additionally, both parties have responsibilities to:

  • make sure the tenancy agreement is in writing

  • keep their contact details up to date

  • not change the locks without the others permission

  • limit the chance of any further damage being done if the other party breaches the agreement.


If you are in a Unit Title property, you must follow the body corporate rules or changes.