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Boarding houses: Renting a room

Rent and bond in a boarding house

Rent and other costs in a boarding house

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 24, 66E, 66K, 66U

You must pay your rent on time. Your landlord can give you 48 hours’ notice to move out if you’re 10 days overdue with your rent (see “Ending a boarding house tenancy” in this section).

Your landlord can increase the rent if they give you 28 days’ written notice. But they can’t increase it more than once every 12 months. This means:

  • Your rent can’t be increased within the first 12 months of your tenancy
  • after that, your rent can’t be increased until 12 months after the date of the last rent increase.

You have to pay the bills for services that only you use, like electricity and gas (if these are metered separately) and phone and internet connected to your room. The landlord is responsible for paying all other bills – for example, for electricity or gas used in shared areas like communal lounges.

Paying a bond in a boarding house

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 18, 19, 66D

Your boarding house landlord can ask you for a bond of up to four weeks’ rent.

If the bond you pay is equivalent to more than a week’s rent, all the normal rules about bonds apply, including that the landlord has 23 working days to give it to Tenancy Services for them to hold, see “Rent, bond and other costs” earlier in this chapter.

If the bond is only one week’s rent or less, your landlord doesn’t have to give it to Tenancy Services, but they do have to give you a receipt. They have to refund you the bond when you move out, except for any amount needed to cover unpaid rent or pay for any damage you’ve caused. If your landlord holds on to your bond at the end of the tenancy, or holds on to more than you think they’re entitled to, you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to order the landlord to give you back the bond.

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Tenancy and housing

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and can help you make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal.

Tenancy Services – Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)


MBIE‘s Tenancy Services section provides information to tenants and to landlords. It also provides dispute-resolution services.

Tenancy advice line

Phone: 0800 83 62 62 (0800 TENANCY). Free translation services are available.

Bond enquiries

Phone: 0800 737 666. Free translation services are available.

Information and forms

Tenancy Services provides information and various forms online or you can order forms by phoning 0800 83 62 62 (0800 TENANC)

Applying to the Tenancy Tribunal

You can apply online, or you can get a paper copy of the form from a Tenancy Services office. The application processes are explained at:

Tenants Protection Associations


Some cities have Tenants Protection Associations:

Christchurch – (03) 379 2297,

Auckland – (09) 360 1473

Renters United

www.rentersunited.org.nz (in Wellington only)

Renters United is an organisation for renters in Wellington. They focus on organising renters and campaigning to make renting better for everyone.

Manawatu Tenants Union

Manawatu Tenants Union provides advocacy and support for renters in the Manawatu region

Phone: 06 357 7435

Email: info@mtu.org.nz

Citizens Advice Bureau


Phone (0800 FOR CAB) 0800 367 222

Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for information about what local tenancy services are available to you.

Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand)


Kāinga Ora, which manages the state housing stock in New Zealand, has a range of information on its website.

Phone: 0800 801 601

Ministry of Social Development


The Ministry of Social Development assesses eligibility for the social housing provided by Housing New Zealand and registered community housing providers. MSD also calculates income-related rent for social housing and conducts tenancy reviews.

MSD‘s social housing staff can be contacted through Work and Income offices:

Phone Work and Income on 0800 559 009 or, if you’re 65 or older, contact Senior Services on 0800 552 002.

Community Housing Regulatory Authority


Phone: (04) 896 5908

Email: CHRA@hud.govt.nz

The Authority approves and registers community housing providers and monitors registered providers. You can read the register of approved providers on the Authority’s website.

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