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Moving out: When and how tenancies end

When the Tenancy Tribunal can end a periodic tenancy

Overdue rent, anti-social behaviour, or hardship: Landlord can apply for a Tribunal termination order

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 55, 55AA, 55B

There are certain situations where your landlord can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for an order ending your tenancy (a “termination order”). Including in the following situations:

  • Overdue rent – The Tribunal can make a termination order if you get behind on rent. This includes if your rent payment is 21 days late; or, if its five working days (or more) late three times within a 90-day period. This second option works like a “three-strikes” policy. Your landlord has to prove that they gave notice every time you were behind in rent, advised you of your right to challenge the notice, and applied to the Tribunal in time (within 28 days of the third notice).
  • Failing to fix a breach – If you breach your tenancy agreement – for example, by not paying rent, or having more people stay at the house than you’re allowed – the landlord can issue you with an official notice telling you to fix the breach. You should have at least 14 days to fix the problem. If you don’t fix the problem in the required time, the Tribunal may be able to make a termination order, if they think the breach is serious enough for termination to be reasonable.
  • Anti-social behaviour – A landlord can apply for a termination order for anti-social behaviour. They need to prove that you or anyone you allowed on the property harassed, or did something causing harm, distress, or nuisance three times within 90 days. The Tribunal will end the tenancy if it’s satisfied that your landlord gave notice containing the details of each incident, and if it wouldn’t be unfair in the circumstances.
  • Hardship – The landlord can apply for a tenancy to be terminated on grounds of severe hardship. The Tribunal will only grant this if the landlord can show they would suffer an unreasonable amount of hardship, more than what you would suffer if the tenancy were to continue.

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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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