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Boarding houses: Renting a room

Your tenancy agreement and the house rules

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, s 66C

As well as the boarding house rules in the Residential Tenancies Act, the terms and conditions of your tenancy will include what’s contained in your tenancy agreement and the “house rules” set by the landlord.

When you move into the boarding house, the landlord has to give you a copy of your tenancy agreement, a copy of the house rules, and a list of the costs of all services the landlord provides for you that aren’t included in the rent.

Your boarding house tenancy agreement

The agreement must include all the information that has to be in standard tenancy agreements for flats and houses (see “Moving in: Signing a tenancy agreement with a landlord” earlier in this chapter). It also has to say whether your tenancy is intended to last for at least 28 days (if it’s not, it won’t be covered by the minimum protections explained in this section), whether your room is shared, and whether the landlord will provide you with any other services (like meals or laundry services). The agreement also has to give contact details for the landlord and the boarding house manager (if there is one).

House rules

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 66O, 66P

Landlords can make house rules about the boarding house and the services there. They have to keep copies of the house rules (and fire evacuation procedures) on display. The landlord must do everything reasonable to make sure the house rules are followed, and they have to enforce them fairly and consistently. They can change the house rules, as long as they give all the tenants one week’s notice of the change.

You can go to the Tenancy Tribunal to challenge a house rule if it’s inconsistent with your rights in the Residential Tenancies Act (for example, if a rule says you have to give the landlord one week’s notice to end the tenancy rather than the 48 hours required by the Act) or if it breaches other laws, like privacy laws.

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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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