Update - April 2024

Proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act have been announced in April 2024 that affect some of the changes made in the 2020 Amendment Act. Find out more information on these proposed changes.

About the 2020 Amendment Act 

New Zealand’s rental landscape has changed dramatically since the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) 1986 came into force more than 30 years ago. More New Zealanders now live in rental accommodation and do so for longer periods of time.  

The Amendment Act: 

  • improves tenants’ security and stability while protecting landlords’ interests 
  • ensures the law balances the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords and helps renters feel at home 
  • modernises the legislation so it can respond to the changing trends in the rental market. 
See the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020 on the legislation.govt.nz website

Changes included in the Amendment Act

The changes in the Amendment Act  include: 

Rent increases

Rent can only be increased every 12 months. 

Increased security for tenants

Landlords can't end a periodic tenancy without giving a specified reason, which is set out in the legislation. You can find out more about specified reasons, as well as template letters for ending a periodic tenancy on the Tenancy Services website.  

Ending a periodic tenancy(external link) - Tenancy Services 

Fixed-term tenancies signed after 11 February 2021 become periodic tenancies at the end of that fixed term, unless: the landlord and tenant agree otherwise; the tenant gives notice; or the landlord gives notice using a specified reason.  

Minor changes to a property

Tenants can make minor changes to a rental property, if the installation and removal of them is low risk, e.g. changing curtains or installing a baby gate.


The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), which is the tenancy regulator, has new compliance tools to take direct action against either landlords or tenants who don’t meet their obligations under the Amendment Act. See what those tools are(external link)

No rental bidding

Landlords can’t ask tenants to bid on a property or offer to pay more than the advertised price.

Name suppression

Anyone who is successful in the Tenancy Tribunal can have their identifying details removed from the Tribunal’s decision. 

Family violence

Tenants will be able to provide their landlord with a family violence withdrawal notice if they need to leave a tenancy quickly because of family violence.

Physical assault

If a tenant assaults their landlord or owner, the landlord's agent, or a member of the landlord or owner’s family, and are facing an assault charge, a landlord will be able to issue a 14-day notice to terminate the tenancy.


Government-funded transitional and emergency housing are exempt from the Act unless the provider and the tenant choose to opt in. 

Related legislation

Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (external link)(external link)

Residential Tenancies (Prohibiting Letting Fees) Amendment Act 2018(external link)(external link) 

Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019(external link)(external link) 

Monitoring the 2020 amendments and other aspects of the rental market

In 2021, we commissioned a series of surveys of renters and landlords, to help HUD and the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) monitor the implementation of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020.

These surveys are designed to track the impact of legislative changes on the residential rental market through a twice-yearly online survey of renters and landlords from across the country.