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Rent, bond and other costs

Other fees and costs

No other fees allowed at the start of the tenancy

Can the landlord get me to pay a letting fee or other fee on top of rent and bond?

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, s 17A

No. The landlord can’t require you to pay any of the following kinds of fees:

  • Letting fees – this is a fee charged by a real estate agent or property manager for arranging the tenancy, usually one week’s rent. The landlord has to pay this fee, and can’t pass it on to you the tenant.
  • Lawyer’s fees – for example, for the costs of drawing up the tenancy agreement
  • “Key money” – this means a payment to the landlord simply because they’re agreeing to rent the place to you.

Until December 2018, a landlord was allowed to charge you a letting fee or a lawyer’s fee, but not “key money”.

When you first look at a place, you can agree with the landlord that you’ll pay them one week’s rent for an option to rent it – sometimes called an “option fee”. But if you do then decide to rent the place, the landlord has to refund you that money or put it towards the rent – they can’t keep it as a payment on top of the rent.

Ongoing costs that tenants are responsible for

You’re responsible for power, phone, and so on

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 39(4), 40(1)(a)

You, the tenant, are responsible for paying the charges for the electricity, gas, phone and internet that you actually use. You’re also responsible for paying water charges if the water supplier charges by how much is used.

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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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