New restraints for landlords

The New Zealand rental market is in hot demand with many renters experiencing issues in securing a rental property, as they are competing with home buyers in a property market where house price show no signs of slowing.

There are a number of changes to the Residential Tenancies Act taking effect from February 2021 with more restraints placed on a Landlords. Here are the key changes.

Rental bidding - a thing of the past

A prohibition is imposed on rental bidding. Rental properties cannot be advertised without a rental price listed, and landlords cannot invite or encourage prospective tenants to pay more than the advertised amount. This does not however prevent prospective tenants from offering more than the listed price, so long as such a price has not been elicited by the landlord.

90 day notice

A Landlord can no longer terminate a tenancy without cause by giving 90 days’ notice. If a tenant has a fixed term, notice can only be issued at the end of the term at which point the tenancy becomes periodic. A Landlord must provide reason for any termination i.e. 90 days’ notice is required if the property is to be sold or demolished, or extensive renovations are to be undertaken in which it is not reasonably practicable for a tenant to remain in occupation.

Roll over of term

Unless contrary notice is given, all fixed term tenancy agreements will convert to periodic tenancies at the end of the fixed term.

Minor changes to property

A landlord will no longer be able to refuse consent if the tenants wish to make minor changes to the property and those proposed changes are minor i.e. small holes to hang pictures or painting walls. However Landlord consent must be obtained by the tenant.


An assignment occurs where a tenant assigns the tenancy to another person. Previously a Landlord had the ability to prohibit a tenant from assigning their tenancy. Under the new changes a Landlord must consider all requests to assign a tenancy and cannot unreasonably decline a request. A Landlord may attach reasonable conditions to the assignment.

Retention of documents

New types of information must be retained for the duration of, and 12 months following the termination of the tenancy, including:

  • The tenancy agreement, which must be signed and in writing;
  • Any advertisement of the tenancy;
  • Documents relating to the healthy home standards;
  • Any property inspection reports;
  • Invoices of any maintenance or repair work carried out at the property; and
  • Copies of emails sent to or received from the tenant

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