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What the landlord must pay

Being a landlord is not easy. The role comes with its own duties and responsibilities. The landlord & tenant has to abide by the Residential Tenancies Act.

Landlord’s responsibilities

  • provide and maintain the premises in a reasonable condition
  • allow the tenant quiet enjoyment of the premises
  • comply with all building, health and safety standards that apply to the premises
  • deal with any abandoned goods at the end of the tenancy in accordance with the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act
  • inform the tenant or prospective tenants if the property is on the market for sale
  • have an agent if they are out of New Zealand for more than 21 consecutive days

Landlord must not:

  • seize the tenant’s goods for any reason
  • interfere with the supply of any services to the premises except where the interference is necessary to avoid danger to any person or to enable maintenance or repairs to be carried out

Landlord's responsibilities

The landlord must pay the costs of owning the house. These are things like:

  • property rates paid to the council
  • insurance premiums for insuring the house (not the contents)
  • body corporate levies if the property is part of a unit title
  • hire charges for gas bottles, if the property has gas supplied by bottles as the main form of water heating and cooking (see below).

Here’s an easy way to work out what costs the landlord has to pay for: if the costs still have to be paid when a tenant isn’t living in the house, the landlord has to pay them. For example, because the council still charges rates, the landlord has to pay them even if no one’s living in the house.

The landlord also has to pay for any utilities shared by different tenancies. For example, if one water meter reads the supply of water to two or more houses, or if the landlord’s renting out each room in a house on separate tenancy agreements. If the landlord doesn’t want to pay for utilities in these situations, they have to install separate meters for each tenancy to show how much electricity, gas or water each tenancy uses.

Rent Increases

Rules to increase rent

Landlords can only increase rent:

  • after the first 180 days of the tenancy
  • provided the increase is not within 180 days of the last increase.

For a fixed-term tenancy, landlords can only increase rent if there is a provision to do so in the fixed-term tenancy agreement.

Landlords must give notice to increase rent

A landlord must give a tenant no less than 60 days’ written notice of a rent increase. Boarding house landlords must give a tenant no less than 28 days’ written notice.

Notice to increase rent

The rent increase notice must be served in writing, say how much the rent is increasing by and the day the increased rent is due. The landlord should keep a copy of the notice. If the landlord doesn’t give the correct notice, they can do one of the following:

  • serve it again correctly
  • ask the tenant to allow them to extend the notice time so it is correct, or
  • apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the notice extended (if the tenant will not allow the landlord to extend the notice).