Rent, bond and other costs

Rent

Are landlords allowed to ask for people to “bid” for a flat?

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 22F, 22G

No. From February 2021, landlords have to include the amount of rent when they advertise and they can’t encourage you to “bid” for the flat by offering to pay more than that.

How much rent in advance can a landlord ask for?

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, s 23

Your landlord can ask you for no more than two weeks’ rent in advance.

Does the landlord have to give me receipts for rent?

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 29, 30

This depends on how you pay your rent. They have to give you a receipt, and give it to you immediately, if there’s no other record – for example, if you pay by cash or by a cash cheque.

The landlord doesn’t have to give you receipts if you pay by automatic bank payment, by deposits into a bank account they use only for payments from their tenants, by deductions from your pay or benefit that go into your landlord’s account, or by non-negotiable personal cheque.

If you ask for it, the landlord must give you a written statement of your rent payments showing the period that a payment relates to, so that you know exactly what dates your rent covers. All landlords have to keep proper business records showing all rent and bond payments.

When and how often can my rent be increased?

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 24, 28–28B, 66(3)

Your landlord can increase your rent no more than once every 12 months. They have to give you 60 days’ advance notice (two months) of any rent increase, and this has to be in writing.

If your landlord does a rent review each year, they have to include details of the annual review in your tenancy agreement or tell you about it before the tenancy starts. If the rent goes up, they have to give you 60 days’ notice, and the increase will take effect on the date each year that’s set in the agreement or from the next rent payment date after that set date.

With a fixed-term tenancy, your landlord can only increase the rent if your agreement allows it. If the increase is substantial and will cause you “serious hardship”, and you couldn’t reasonably have foreseen that the increase would be that much, you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to end the tenancy.

Your landlord can apply to the Tribunal to increase the rent if they’ve made significant improvements with your permission, or if they’ve had unexpected costs to do with the property.

Getting your rent reviewed if it’s higher than other rents

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 25, 26

If your rent is substantially higher than the rents of similar properties in similar areas, you can go to the Tenancy Tribunal to ask it to reduce your rent to a “market rent” (to find out what the market rent is for your area or suburb, go to www.tenancy.govt.nz). If the Tribunal does order your landlord to lower your rent, the rent will usually be fixed at that level for six months. See “Problems with your landlord: What you can do” in this chapter.

What happens if I get behind in my rent?

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 55, 56, 77(2)(L)

As soon as you’re overdue in your rent – even if just by one day – your landlord can give you a written notice telling you to pay the overdue amount within two weeks (14 days), or longer if the landlord chooses.

If you don’t pay it by the set time, your landlord can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for it to order you to pay the overdue rent. Sometimes they can also ask the Tribunal to end the tenancy and order you to move out with what’s known as a “termination order”. See “Moving out: When and how tenancies end” in this chapter.

Your landlord can’t take any of your things in place of the unpaid rent, or for any other reason.

Next Section | Other fees and costs

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Tenancy and housing

Where to go for more support

Community Law

www.communitylaw.org.nz

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)

www.tenancy.govt.nz 

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:
www.tenancy.govt.nz/disputes/Tribunal/making-an-application

Tenants Protection Associations

www.tpa.org.nz

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

www.cab.org.nz

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)

www.kaingaora.govt.nz

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

www.msd.govt.nz

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

www.chra.hud.govt.nz

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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