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What is a Tenancy Agreement?

A Tenancy Agreement is a legal agreement between a tenant and landlord that covers the obligations for both parties and is governed by New Zealand law.

The most common type of tenancy in New Zealand is a periodic rental.  In this case, you agree to rent the property on an ongoing basis.  The agreement specifies the minimum number of weeks' notice that either the landlord or tenant must give in order to terminate the agreement.  Less common are fixed term rental agreements, where a specified period of time (such as 6 months, or 1 year) is agreed to.  In this instance, the tenant agrees to pay rent for the agreed term of the lease taken.

Tenancy Agreement forms (blank) are available from the Department of Building and Housing website.  Some of the items a Tenancy Agreement must cover are:
  • The names and contact addresses of the landlord and tenant
  • The address of the property being rented
  • The date the Tenancy Agreement is signed by both parties
  • The date the tenancy is to begin at the property
  • Addresses for service for both the landlord and the tenant
  • Whether the tenant is under the age of 18 (and may therefore need a guarantor or parent signature for the agreement)
  • The rent amount being charged, and frequency of rent payments to be paid.
  • The amount of any bond being paid by the tenant to the landlord. Under New Zealand law these bond funds must then be sent with to the Department of Building and Housing within 23 days of receipt of the funds by the landlord
  • The place or bank account number where the rent is to be paid
  • Any letting agent or solicitor fees to be paid by the tenant or landlord (if applicable)
  • A list of any chattels (like furniture, curtains and other fittings) provided by the landlord, as part of the tenancy.  Normally the condition of these chattels is also noted in the agreement
A Tenancy Agreement may also include other information, such as the (maximum) number of people that are allowed to live in the flat or house, whether sub-letting is allowed, whether smoking is allowed on the property, or car parking details etc.
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