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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 66G-66T

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.

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, which can be verbal or in writing, 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 you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

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.

Website: www.tenancy.govt.nz
Tenancy advice: 0800 83 62 62 (0800 TENANCY). Free translation services are available.
Bond enquiries: 0800 737 666. Free translation services are available.

Ministry of Social Development – Work and Income (WINZ)

Work and Income assess eligibility for social housing provided by Kāinga Ora and other registered community housing providers. WINZ also calculates income-related rent for social housing and conducts tenancy reviews.

Website: www.workandincome.govt.nz/housing/index.html
Phone: 0800 559 009
Email: www.workandincome.govt.nz/housing/nowhere-to-stay/index.html
Email: www.workandincome.govt.nz/housing/find-a-house/who-can-get-public-housing.html
Email: www.workandincome.govt.nz/housing/find-a-house/apply-for-public-housing.html

Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand)

Kāinga Ora manages New Zealand’s public housing and places people in public homes.  Kāinga Ora’s website provides information for existing and prospective tenants.

Website: www.kaingaora.govt.nz
Phone: 0800 801 601
Office locations: kaingaora.govt.nz/our-locations
When to contact Kāinga Ora vs Work and Income resource: kaingaora.govt.nz/tenants-and-communities/renting-a-home

Note: to apply for a Kāinga Ora home, you need to contact Work and Income – “Ministry of Social Development – Work and Income (WINZ)” above.

Tenancy Tribunal

The Tenancy Tribunal can help you if you have an issue with a tenant or landlord that you can’t solve yourself. The Tribunal will hear both sides of the argument and can issue an order that is legally binding.

Information on how to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal: www.tenancy.govt.nz/disputes/Tribunal/making-an-application

Aratohu Tenant Advocacy

The Aratohu Tenant Advocacy is a comprehensive online resource that provides support and guidance to tenants and their advocates.

Website: tenant.aratohu.nz

Tenants Protection Association Auckland (TPA)

The Tenants Protection Association provides advocacy and support to renters in Auckland.

Website: tpaauckland.org.nz
Phone: 09 360 1473

Manawatū Tenants’ Union

The Manawatū Tenants’ Union provides advocacy and support to renters in the Manawatū region.

Website: www.mtu.org.nz
Email: info@mtu.org.nz
Phone: 06 357 7435

Renters United

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

Website: rentersunited.org.nz
Online contact form: rentersunited.org.nz/contact
Instagram: www.instagram.com/fairrentnow
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rentersunitednz

Community Housing Regulatory Authority

The Community Housing Regulatory Authority registers and regulates community housing providers.

Website: chra.hud.govt.nz
Email: CHRA@hud.govt.nz
Phone: 0800 141 411

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

CAB provides free, confidential and independent information and advice.  See CAB’s website for valuable information on a range of topics.

Website: www.cab.org.nz
Phone: 0800 367 222
Facebook: www.facebook.com/citizensadvicenz

Find your local CAB office: www.cab.org.nz/find-a-cab

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