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Problems with your landlord: What you can do

Mediation: Help with settling a dispute with your landlord

What is mediation?

Mediation gives tenants and landlords a chance to talk about and solve their problems. A free mediation service is available through Tenancy Services.

A trained mediator will help you and your landlord discuss the problem, identify the disputed issues, and try to come up with a solution that works. The mediator won’t decide the dispute – that’s for you and the landlord to work out together.

Mediation is confidential. It’s a private meeting between you, the landlord and the Tenancy Services mediator. Sometimes mediation meetings happen face-to-face, sometimes they’re over the phone.

How do I take my dispute to mediation?

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, s 87

Contact Tenancy Services and tell them you have a tenancy problem that you want to take to mediation. Even if you wanted to go straight to the Tenancy Tribunal for a decision, the Tribunal would usually send your case to mediation anyway to see if things could be resolved in that way. But in some situations, your case might go straight to the Tenancy Tribunal, because it’s urgent or because it’s not suitable for mediation.

Either the tenant or the landlord can make an application to start the process. It costs $20.44 to make an application.

If a case goes to the Tenancy Tribunal because one side refused to go to mediation, the Tribunal may order that side to pay the costs of the Tribunal hearing, as well as making whatever other order the Tribunal thinks is needed in deciding the case.

What happens if the landlord and I reach an agreement at mediation? What happens if we don’t?

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 88, 99, 102

If you and the landlord reach an agreement, the mediator will usually write it down and get you both to sign it. This makes it legally binding on you both, just the same as if the Tenancy Tribunal had decided your case and made an order. Just as if it was a Tribunal Order, you can get the agreement enforced by the District Court if the landlord ignores the agreement.

If you and the landlord can’t reach an agreement at mediation, your dispute can go to the Tenancy Tribunal.

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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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