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Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2010


The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 was amended and the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act came into force on 1 October 2010.  There have been changes to the Residential Tenancies Act which will be of interest to both landlords and tenants. Some of the changes include:

·         Real Estate agents and property managers are now referred to as letting agents. All letting agents can now charge a letting fee.

·         A fixed term tenancy now reverts to a periodic tenancy on the date the fixed term tenancy ends, unless either the landlord or the tenant gives notice to the contrary between 21 and 90 days before the fixed-term tenancy expires.

On the date the fixed-term tenancy ends, the tenancy shall continue as a periodic tenancy, with the same terms contained in the expired tenancy, unless:


o    the tenant and landlord enter into a new tenancy agreement, or

o    extend the existing tenancy agreement, or

o    either party gives the other party written notice of their intention to end the tenancy. The period in which a landlord or tenant can give such notice to end the tenancy is between 21 and 90 days before the date the tenancy expires.


o    If there is a right in the tenancy agreement to renew or extend the tenancy and the tenant wishes to renew or extend the tenancy, the tenant must write to the landlord to advise them, no later than 21 days before the tenancy is due to expire, otherwise the landlord does not have to accept a renewed or extended tenancy.


·         Landlords and tenants must always provide a physical street address as an address for service, but can now add an email address, P O Box number or a fax number as an alternative address for service.


o    If you deliver the notice to the person by hand, it is considered to be served straight away.


o    To make sure you provide enough time for your notice to reach the other person the Act says that, unless there is evidence to the contrary, you must:



       allow 4 working days if you’re sending the notice by mail

       allow 2 working days if you leave the notice at their door or in their letter box

       allow 1 working day if sent by email.

Note: If you are serving a notice by email, it may be a good idea to request a delivery receipt before sending the notice.  A delivery receipt will tell you when the email arrives into the other person’s inbox.

       allow 1 working day if sent by fax before 5pm

       allow 2 working days if sent by fax after 5pm.


·         If a landlord is going to be absent from New Zealand for more than 21 consecutive days, they must appoint a New Zealand based agent and notify their tenants and the Bond Centre (if a Bond is held) of the agent’s details. The agent does not have to be a professional, and has all the rights of the landlord.

·         Tenancy agreements in unit title properties are now subject to body corporate rules and must be notified of any variation of the rules.

·         A “10 working day” notice (a notice to remedy a breach of the tenancy) will change to a “14 consecutive day” notice. This means that other party now has 14 consecutive days to fix the problem.

·         New rules have been added for termination of a tenancy by notice:

o    To issue a 42 days’ notice if the owner of the premises or a member of the owner’s family require the premises as their principal place of residence;


o   In the case of the tenant being given less than 90 days’ notice, the notice to terminate must set out the reasons for the termination.

        NOTE:  The Landlord may give 42 days’ notice in writing – and must state the reason for termination if:

(a)        The owner has an unconditional agreement to sell the premises with vacant possession; or

(b)        The premises are required as the principal place of residence for the owner or any member of that owner’s family; or

(c)        the premises are required for an employee of the landlord and this has been agreed at the start of the tenancy.

In other cases, the landlord must give 90 days’ notice in writing without having to give a reason for termination.

·         New rules have been added for landlords dealing with abandoned goods.


·         A number of unlawful acts have been added which includes:


o   Failure of the tenant to quit the premises at the end of the tenancy, without reasonable excuse;


o   The tenant using the premises for unlawful purposes;


o   Exceeding the maximum number of people who may reside at the property;


o   Landlord’s failure to comply with their obligations regarding cleanliness, maintenance, or relevant building and health and safety regulations;


o   Interference with the supply of services, for example electricity.


In addition to these changes boarding house tenancies are now also covered by the Act.