Residential Tenancies Act 1986

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Reprint as at 1 October 2010

Residential Tenancies Act 1986

Public Act1986 No 120
Date of assent17 December 1986


Changes authorised by section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989 have been made in this eprint.

A general outline of these changes is set out in the notes at the end of this eprint, together with other explanatory material about this eprint.

This Act is administered in the Ministry of Housing



1 Short Title and commencement

2 Interpretation

Part 1
Application of Act

3 Act to bind the Crown

4 Act generally to apply to all residential tenancies

5 Act excluded in certain cases

5A Certain excluded long fixed-term tenancies remain subject to repealed sections of Property Law Act 1952

5B Exempt student accommodation

6 Long fixed-term tenancies [Repealed]

7 Short fixed-term tenancies

8 Parties to excluded tenancies may agree that Act shall apply

9 Existing tenancies

10 Onus of proof

11 Act generally to apply despite contrary provisions

Part 2
Tenancy agreements

Preliminary matters

12 Discrimination to be unlawful act

12A Choice of procedures

13 Form of tenancy agreement

13A Contents of tenancy agreement

13AB Address for service

13B Variations and renewals of tenancy agreements

13C Tenancy agreements not unenforceable on grounds not in writing

13D Exceptions to requirements relating to tenancy agreements

14 Minors

15 Notification of successor to landlord or tenant

16 Change of name or address

16A Landlord must have agent if out of New Zealand for longer than 21 consecutive days

16B Body corporate rules part of tenancy agreement

Key money, bonds, and rents

17 Requiring key money prohibited

18 Bonds to be no more than 4 weeks' rent

18A Landlord must not require security other than permitted bond

19 Duties of landlord on receipt of bond

20 Duties of chief executive in relation to bonds

21 Tenant may pay bond direct to chief executive with landlord's consent

21A Notification of changes of address to chief executive

22 Agreed applications to chief executive for payment of bond

22A Applications to chief executive for payment of bond without agreement of other party

22B Applications to, and orders by, Tribunal

22C Payments of bond to be made out of Residential Tenancies Trust Account

22D Chief executive may take steps to refund bonds

22E Social Welfare may disclose address information for bond refund purposes

23 Rent in advance

24 Rent increases

24A Expiry of temporary rent reduction

25 Market rent

26 Duration of order determining market rent

27 Rent in excess of market rent irrecoverable

28 Increase of rent by agreement or order in case of substantial improvements, improved facilities, or variation of terms

28A Increase of rent by order in case of unforeseen expenses

28B Effect of rent increases under section 28 or 28A

29 Receipts for rent

30 Landlord to keep records

31 Apportionment of rent

32 Accelerated rent or damages prohibited

33 Tenant's goods not to be seized

34 Transitional provision relating to bonds [Repealed]

35 Transitional provisions relating to fair rents and equitable rents [Repealed]

Rights and obligations of parties

36 Legal impediments to occupation

37 Vacant possession

38 Quiet enjoyment

39 Responsibility for outgoings

40 Tenant's responsibilities

41 Tenant's responsibility for actions of others

42 Tenant's fixtures

43 Disposition of landlord's interest

44 Assignment, subletting, or parting with possession by tenant

45 Landlord's responsibilities

46 Locks

47 Landlord to give notice to tenant of intention to sell

48 Landlord's right of entry

49 Mitigation of damage or loss

Termination of tenancies and recovery of possession

50 Circumstances in which tenancies are terminated

50A Termination following death of sole tenant

51 Termination by notice

52 Provision for shorter notice may be made with consent of Tribunal

53 Special provisions for notice terminating service tenancies

53A Special provisions for notice terminating certain student tenancies

54 Tribunal may declare retaliatory notice of no effect

55 Termination on non-payment of rent, damage, or assault

56 Termination for non-payment of rent and other breaches

57 Effect on subtenancy of termination of head tenancy

58 Mortgagee or other person becoming entitled to possession

59 Destruction of premises

59A Termination where breach renders premises uninhabitable

60 Tenant remaining in possession after termination of tenancy

60A Fixed-term tenancy becomes periodic unless contrary notice given

60B Tenant must exercise right to renew or extend tenancy not later than 21 days before expiry

60C Notices and orders continue to apply to renewed or extended tenancies

61 Abandonment of premises

62 Goods left on premises on termination of tenancy

62A Disposal of abandoned goods following assessment of market value

62B Disposal of abandoned goods in accordance with Tribunal order

62C Application of proceeds of sale and recovery of amount owing

62D Tenant may claim proceeds of sale

62E Responsibility of tenant unaffected

62F Protection from liability

63 Entry without order of Tribunal prohibited

64 Possession orders

65 Eviction of squatters

66 Reduction or termination of fixed-term tenancy

Part  2A
Boarding house tenancies


66A Application of Part

66B Interpretation for this Part

Boarding house tenancy agreements

66C Content of boarding house tenancy agreements

66D Bond of 1 week’s rent or less

66E Outgoings

66F Tenancy not assignable by tenant

Rights and obligations of landlords and tenants

66G Quiet enjoyment

66H Landlord’s obligations at start of tenancy

66I Landlord’s ongoing obligations

66J Other obligations of landlord

66K Obligations of tenant

66L Tenant’s liability for damage caused by others

66M Tenant’s obligations at end of tenancy

66N Mitigation of damage or loss

House rules

66O Landlord may make house rules

66P What tenant may do if he or she objects to house rules

Landlord’s right of entry

66Q Landlord has right to enter premises at any time

66R Landlord’s right to enter boarding room is limited

66S Notice of entry

66T Consequence of abuse, or refusal, of right of entry


66U Termination of tenancy by landlord

66V When tenant may terminate tenancy

66W Termination of tenancy on death of sole tenant


66X Abandonment by tenant

66Y Possession orders

Part 3
The Tenancy Tribunal

Constitution and administration

67 Constitution of Tribunal

68 Term of office of Tenancy Adjudicators

69 Remuneration of Tenancy Adjudicators

70 Tenancy Adjudicators to be protected

71 Conduct of Tribunal and stationing of Tenancy Adjudicators

72 Registrars

73 Seal of Tribunal

74 Records of Tribunal

75 Offices and Tenancy Officers [Repealed]

76 Tenancy Mediators


77 Jurisdiction of Tribunal

78 Orders of Tribunal

79 Jurisdiction to make interim orders

80 Orders of Tribunal to be final

81 Exclusion of Tribunal's jurisdiction prohibited

82 Exclusion of other jurisdictions

83 Transfer of proceedings to District Court

83A Referral of complaints to Health and Disability Commissioner

84 Jurisdiction of Tribunal generally exercisable by any Tenancy Adjudicator

85 Manner in which jurisdiction is to be exercised


86 Filing of applications

87 Duties of chief executive on receipt of application

88 Functions of Tenancy Mediators

89 Statements made in mediation to be subject to privilege

90 Tenancy Mediator to observe confidentiality

91 Notice of hearing by Tribunal

91A Service on tenants following application

91B Hearing may proceed even if party not served

92 Non-attendance at hearing after due notice

93 Right of audience

94 Minors and persons under disability

95 Proceedings usually to be in public

96 Further provisions relating to procedure generally

97 Evidence

98 Witness summons

98A Other witness expenses

99 Tribunal may require inquiry and report by Tenancy Mediator or suitable person

100 Tenancy Mediator or Tribunal may require valuer's report in certain proceedings

101 Protection of persons appearing, etc

102 Costs

103 Reference of questions of law to High Court

104 Decision of Tribunal

105 Rehearings

Enforcement and offences

106 Enforcement of possession orders

107 Enforcement of orders other than possession orders and work orders

108 Enforcement of work orders

109 Unlawful acts

109A Tribunal may restrain further commissions of unlawful acts

110 Failing to answer witness summons

111 Giving false evidence

112 Contempt

Contact information for enforcement purposes

112A Interpretation

112B Application for contact information

112C Application referred to specified agency

112D Response to applicant

112E Specified information sent to District Court

112F Non-disclosure of contact information

Miscellaneous provisions

113 Chief executive to provide assistance

114 Powers of entry of Tenancy Mediators

115 Principal Tenancy Adjudicator may issue practice directions

116 Rules of procedure


117 Appeal to District Court

118 Powers of District Court Judge on appeal

119 Appeal on questions of law to High Court

120 Further appeal to Court of Appeal

Part 4

Functions and powers of chief executive

121 Chief executive responsible for administration of Act

122 Director-General may delegate powers [Repealed]

123 General functions and powers of chief executive

124 Chief executive may take or defend proceedings on behalf of any party

125 Immunities

126 Annual report

Residential Tenancies Trust Account

127 Residential Tenancies Trust Account

128 Auditor-General to be auditor of residential tenancies trust account

129 Part B of the Fund [Repealed]

130 Corporation may make money available [Repealed]

131 Corporation may borrow [Repealed]

132 No execution

Part 5
Miscellaneous provisions

133 Tribunal or chief executive may require terms of tenancy agreement

134 Waiver by landlord of breach by tenant

134A Method of payment

135 Recovery of money paid by mistake

136 Service of documents

136A Calculation of periods

137 Prohibited transactions

138 Offences triable summarily

139 Regulations relating to accommodation brokers

140 Regulations relating to other matters

141 Schedule 1 may be amended by Order in Council [Repealed]

142 Effect of Property Law Act 2007

143 Housing Corporation Act 1974 amended [Repealed]

144 Repeals, revocations, and amendments

Schedule 1
Clauses for rent increases in fixed-term tenancy agreements

Schedule 1A
Amounts for unlawful acts

Schedule 2
Enactments repealed

Schedule 3
Regulations revoked

Schedule 4
Enactments amended

Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2010

Reprint notes

An Act to reform and restate the law relating to residential tenancies, to define the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants of residential properties, to establish a tribunal to determine expeditiously disputes arising between such landlords and tenants, to establish a fund in which bonds payable by such tenants are to be held, and to repeal the Tenancy Act 1955 and the Rent Appeal Act 1973 and their amendments