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Communtity Law Manual | Tenancy & housing | How Tenancy Services can help with your rights: Improvement notices and enforceable undertakings

Problems with your landlord: What you can do

How Tenancy Services can help with your rights: Improvement notices and enforceable undertakings

Law changes from 11 February 2021 have introduced new ways to get your landlord to do what they’re supposed to, or to stop doing what they’re not allowed to under your tenancy agreement or the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. The idea is to get your landlord to correct their behaviour, without needing to go to the Tenancy Tribunal.

What is an improvement notice and how do I get one?

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 126H-126M, Residential Tenancies Act 1986, Schedule 1A, s 126J(1)

Tenancy Services can give your landlord notice telling them what rules they’re breaking under your tenancy agreement or the Act (such as failing to give you smoke alarms) with a deadline for them to make the improvement.

Notice can be given for problems that are already happening, or that are likely to happen. It’s an unlawful act for your landlord to ignore the notice, and if they do they’ll have to pay a penalty of $3,000.

If you believe your landlord is not complying with the Act, you can contact the Tenancy Compliance and Investigations team on the Tenancy Services website. To fill out the form online visit www.tenancy.govt.nz and search “Contact the Compliance and Investigations Team”.

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 126N-126R, Residential Tenancies Act 1986, Schedule 1A, s 126P(2)

If the improvement order doesn’t solve the problem, an enforceable undertaking is the next step for more serious breaches of your tenancy rights. This involves Tenancy Services coming to an agreement with your landlord about what they need to fix, with a $1,000 penalty if they don’t comply.

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