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Boarding houses: Renting a room

Your use of your room and the shared facilities

Your rights to use and access your room and the shared facilities

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 66H, 66I

When you move into a boarding house, the landlord must make sure that your room is clean and that no-one else is using it (unless you’ve rented it as a shared room). While you’re living there, the landlord mustn’t interfere with your reasonable peace, privacy and comfort, and they mustn’t unnecessarily interrupt the supply of electricity, water and gas. The boarding house as a whole has to be reasonably clean, secure and in reasonable repair, and it has to meet building and health and safety requirements.

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 66G, 66I-66K, 66T

You must have access at all times to your room and to toilet and bathroom facilities, and you must have access at all reasonable hours to the other facilities in the boarding house, like kitchens and laundries. The landlord must tell you and the other tenants immediately if the locks are changed.

Looking after your room

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 66G, 66I-66M, 66T

While you’re staying at the boarding house, you must keep your room reasonably clean and tidy, follow the house rules, and not disturb any of the other tenants. You can’t keep a pet without the landlord’s permission. You must tell the landlord as soon as possible about any damage or if repairs are needed, and you have to pay for any damage that you or your visitors cause. At the end of the tenancy you have to take all your things with you and leave your room in a reasonably clean and tidy state.

When can the landlord come into my room?

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 66Q-66S

Your landlord can’t come into your room whenever they feel like it. They have to give you 24 hours’ advance notice (written or verbal), and they can only come in between 8 am and 6 pm. They can also only come in for certain reasons, including:

  • to inspect your room (but only if they haven’t done this in the last four weeks)
  • to show your room to a potential tenant or buyer, or to people like valuers and real estate agents
  • if they have a good reason to think you’re breaching your tenancy agreement
  • to check any work that you’re meant to have done on the room.

They don’t need to give you advance notice if you’ve given them permission to come in, or if it’s an emergency, or if they’re providing you with services the two of you have agreed on (like doing your laundry).

When they come in, they have to do it in a reasonable way, including knocking and waiting for you to open the door. They can stay in your room only for as long as they need to, and they can’t interfere unnecessarily with your things.

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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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