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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 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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