Residential Tenancies Act 1986

If you need more information about this Act, please contact the administering agency: Ministry of Housing and Urban Development

Version as at 12 April 2022

Coat of Arms of New Zealand

Residential Tenancies Act 1986

Public Act
1986 No 120
Date of assent
17 December 1986
see section 1(2)

The Parliamentary Counsel Office has made editorial and format changes to this version using the powers under subpart 2 of Part 3 of the Legislation Act 2019.

Note 4 at the end of this version provides a list of the amendments included in it.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.


1Short Title and commencement
2ATransitional, savings, and related provisions
3Act to bind the Crown
4Act generally to apply to all residential tenancies
5Act excluded in certain cases
5ACertain excluded long fixed-term tenancies remain subject to repealed sections of Property Law Act 1952
5BExempt student accommodation
6Long fixed-term tenancies [Repealed]
7Tenancies for short fixed terms
8Parties to excluded tenancies may agree that Act shall apply
9Existing tenancies
10Onus of proof
11Act generally to apply despite contrary provisions
12Discrimination to be unlawful act
12AChoice of procedures
13Tenancy agreement must be in writing and signed
13AContents of tenancy agreement
13ABAddress for service
13BVariations and renewals of tenancy agreements
13CTenancy agreements not unenforceable on grounds not in writing
13DExceptions to requirements relating to tenancy agreements
15Notification of successor to landlord or tenant
16Change of name or address
16ALandlord must have agent if out of New Zealand for longer than 21 consecutive days
16BBody corporate rules part of tenancy agreement
17Requiring key money prohibited
17ARequiring letting fee prohibited
18Bonds to be no more than 4 weeks’ rent
18ALandlord must not require security other than permitted bond
19Duties of landlord on receipt of bond
20Duties of chief executive in relation to bonds
21Tenant may pay bond direct to chief executive with landlord’s consent
21ANotification of changes of address to chief executive
22Agreed applications to chief executive for payment of bond
22AApplications to chief executive for payment of bond without agreement of other party
22BApplications to, and orders by, Tribunal
22CPayments of bond to be made out of Residential Tenancies Trust Account
22DChief executive may take steps to refund bonds
22EMSD may disclose address information for bond refund purposes
22FLandlord must state amount of rent when advertising residential premises
22GLandlord must not invite or encourage bids for rent
23Rent in advance
24Rent increases
24AExpiry of temporary rent reduction
25Market rent
26Duration of order determining market rent
27Rent in excess of market rent irrecoverable
28Increase of rent by agreement or order in case of substantial improvements, improved facilities, or variation of terms
28AIncrease of rent by order in case of unforeseen expenses
28BEffect of rent increases under section 28 or 28A
29Receipts for rent
30Landlord to keep records
31Apportionment of rent
32Accelerated rent or damages prohibited
33Tenant’s goods not to be seized
34Transitional provision relating to bonds [Repealed]
35Transitional provisions relating to fair rents and equitable rents [Repealed]
36Legal impediments to occupation
37Vacant possession
38Quiet enjoyment
39Responsibility for outgoings
40Tenant’s responsibilities
41Tenant’s responsibility for actions of others
42Tenant’s fixtures, etc
42AConsent for tenant’s fixtures, etc
42BMinor changes
43Disposition of landlord’s interest
43AEffect of provision prohibiting assignment by tenant
43BAssignment of tenancy by tenant
43CEffect of assignment by tenant
44Subletting or parting with possession by tenant
44ARecovery of expenses incurred by landlord
45Landlord’s responsibilities
45AProtection from liability for landlord who complies with contaminant regulations
45BLandlord must permit and facilitate installation of fibre connection in certain circumstances
47Landlord to give notice to tenant if premises put on market
48Landlord’s right of entry
49Mitigation of damage or loss
49AGeneral principle
49BWhen tenant liable
49CLandlord, not insurer, to benefit from tenant liability for careless damage
49DUnlawful acts related to liability
49EMeaning of premises
50Circumstances in which tenancies are terminated
50ATermination following death of sole tenant
51Termination by notice
52Provision for shorter notice may be made with consent of Tribunal
53Special provisions for notice terminating service tenancies
53ASpecial provisions for notice terminating certain student tenancies
53BSpecial provisions for notice terminating social housing tenancies
54Tribunal may declare retaliatory notice of no effect
55Termination on non-payment of rent, damage, or assault
55AATermination by notice for physical assault by tenant
55ATermination for anti-social behaviour
55BTermination where it would be unreasonable to require landlord to continue with tenancy
56Termination for non-payment of rent and other breaches
56ATermination where premises are unlawful residential premises
56BWithdrawal from tenancy following family violence
56CService of notices of withdrawal and accompanying evidence
56DTermination where it would be unreasonable to require remaining tenant to continue with tenancy
56EDisclosure of notice of withdrawal or accompanying evidence
57Effect on subtenancy of termination of head tenancy
58Mortgagee or other person becoming entitled to possession
59Destruction of premises
59ATermination where breach renders premises uninhabitable
59BTermination where regulations prescribe testing methods and maximum inhabitable level of contaminant
60Tenant remaining in possession after termination of tenancy
60AALandlord acting to terminate tenancy without grounds
60AFixed-term tenancy becomes periodic unless contrary notice given
60BTenant must exercise right to renew or extend tenancy not later than 28 days before expiry
60CNotices and orders continue to apply to renewed or extended tenancies
61Abandonment of premises
62Goods left on premises on termination of tenancy
62ADisposal of abandoned goods following assessment of market value
62BDisposal of abandoned goods in accordance with Tribunal order
62CApplication of proceeds of sale and recovery of amount owing
62DTenant may claim proceeds of sale
62EResponsibility of tenant unaffected
62FProtection from liability
63Entry without order of Tribunal prohibited
64Possession orders
65Eviction of squatters
66Reduction or termination of fixed-term tenancy
66AApplication of Part
66BInterpretation for this Part
66CContent of boarding house tenancy agreements
66DBond of 1 week’s rent or less
66FTenancy not assignable by tenant
66GQuiet enjoyment
66HLandlord’s obligations at start of tenancy
66ILandlord’s ongoing obligations
66IAProtection from liability for landlord who complies with contaminant regulations
66JOther obligations of landlord
66KObligations of tenant
66LTenant’s liability for damage caused by others
66MTenant’s obligations at end of tenancy
66NMitigation of damage or loss
66OLandlord may make house rules
66PWhat tenant may do if he or she objects to house rules
66QLandlord has right to enter premises at any time
66RLandlord’s right to enter boarding room is limited
66SNotice of entry
66TConsequence of abuse, or refusal, of right of entry
66UTermination of tenancy by landlord
66VWhen tenant may terminate tenancy
66WTermination of tenancy on death of sole tenant
66XAbandonment by tenant
66YPossession orders
67Constitution of Tribunal
67AAppointment of temporary acting Principal Tenancy Adjudicator, Deputy Principal Tenancy Adjudicator, or Tenancy Adjudicator
68Term of office of Tenancy Adjudicators
69Remuneration of Tenancy Adjudicators
70Tenancy Adjudicators to be protected
71Conduct of Tribunal and stationing of Tenancy Adjudicators
71ADelegation by Principal Tenancy Adjudicator
73Seal of Tribunal
74Records of Tribunal
75Offices and Tenancy Officers [Repealed]
76Tenancy Mediators
77Jurisdiction of Tribunal
78Orders of Tribunal
78AOrders of Tribunal relating to unlawful residential premises
79Jurisdiction to make interim orders
80Orders of Tribunal to be final
81Exclusion of Tribunal’s jurisdiction prohibited
82Exclusion of other jurisdictions
83Transfer of proceedings to District Court
83AReferral of complaints to Health and Disability Commissioner
84Jurisdiction of Tribunal generally exercisable by any Tenancy Adjudicator
85Manner in which jurisdiction is to be exercised
86Filing of applications
87Duties of chief executive on receipt of application
88Functions of Tenancy Mediators
89Statements made in mediation to be subject to privilege
90Tenancy Mediator to observe confidentiality
91Notice of hearing by Tribunal
91AAProcess for determining abandonment applications within 10 working days without hearing
91AService on tenants following application
91BSubstituted service, etc
92Non-attendance at hearing after due notice
92ATribunal may strike out proceeding
93Right of audience
94Minors and persons under disability
95Proceedings usually to be in public
95ASuppression orders
96Further provisions relating to procedure generally
98Witness summons
98AOther witness expenses
99Tribunal may require inquiry and report by Tenancy Mediator or suitable person
100Tenancy Mediator or Tribunal may require valuer’s report in certain proceedings
101Protection of persons appearing, etc
103Reference of questions of law to High Court
104Decision of Tribunal
106Enforcement of possession orders
107Enforcement of orders other than possession orders and work orders
108Enforcement of work orders
109Unlawful acts
109ATribunal may restrain further commissions of unlawful acts
109BTribunal may make pecuniary penalty orders
109CMaximum amount of pecuniary penalty
109DConsiderations for Tribunal in determining pecuniary penalty
109EOnly 1 pecuniary penalty order may be made for same conduct
110Failing to answer witness summons
111Giving false evidence
111AOffence of breaching suppression order
112BApplication for contact information
112CApplication referred to specified agency
112DResponse to applicant
112ESpecified information sent to District Court
112FNon-disclosure of contact information
113Chief executive to provide assistance
114Powers of entry of Tenancy Mediators
115Principal Tenancy Adjudicator may issue practice directions
115AOnline publication of information about procedures, time frames, and progress of decisions
115BOnline publication of final written decisions
116Rules of procedure
117Appeal to District Court
118Powers of District Court Judge on appeal
119Appeal on questions of law to High Court
120Further appeal to Court of Appeal
121Chief executive responsible for administration of Act
122Director-General may delegate powers [Repealed]
123General functions and powers of chief executive
123ADocuments to be retained by landlord and produced to chief executive if required
123BDocuments to be produced by tenant to chief executive if required
123CChief executive’s powers in relation to produced documents
123CAProgrammes of inspections to monitor and assess compliance with healthy homes standards
123DPower of entry to inspect premises
123ETribunal may authorise inspection
124Chief executive may take or defend proceedings on behalf of any party [Repealed]
124AChief executive may take proceedings in place of tenant or landlord
124BSupplementary provision to section 124A
126Annual report
126BProceedings for infringement offences
126CWhen infringement notice may be issued
126DInfringement notice may be revoked
126EWhat infringement notice must contain
126FHow infringement notice may be served
126GPayment of infringement fees
126HPower to issue improvement notices
126IContent of improvement notices
126JCompliance with improvement notice
126KExtension of time for compliance with improvement notices
126LChief executive may withdraw improvement notice
126MObjection to improvement notice
126NChief executive may accept enforceable undertakings
126OWhen enforceable undertaking is enforceable
126PCompliance with enforceable undertaking
126QWithdrawal or variation of enforceable undertaking
126RProceedings for alleged contravention
127Residential Tenancies Trust Account
128Auditor-General to be auditor of Residential Tenancies Trust Account
129Part B of the Fund [Repealed]
130Corporation may make money available [Repealed]
131Corporation may borrow [Repealed]
132No execution
133Tribunal or chief executive may require terms of tenancy agreements
134Waiver by landlord of breach by tenant
134AMethod of payment
135Recovery of money paid by mistake
136Service of documents
136ACalculation of periods
137Prohibited transactions
137AOnly 1 penalty type for same conduct
138Time for filing charging document
138ARegulations in respect of smoke alarms
138BHealthy homes standards
138CRegulations in respect of contaminants and contaminated premises
138DPowers to make regulations under sections 138A to 138C not limited by other enactments, etc
138ERegulations relating to termination of tenancy for physical assault by tenant
138FRegulations relating to withdrawal from tenancy following family violence
139Regulations relating to accommodation brokers
139ARegulations relating to infringement offences
140Regulations relating to other matters
141Schedule 1 may be amended by Order in Council [Repealed]
142Non-application of Part 4 of Property Law Act 2007
143Housing Corporation Act 1974 amended [Repealed]
144Repeals, revocations, and amendments
145Provisions relating to COVID-19

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