Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020
The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020 (Amendment Act) modernises the laws governing tenancies in New Zealand, striking a balance between protecting a landlord’s interest in their property, and making sure tenants get fair rights for the rent they pay.
On this page you can read about changes introduced by the Amendment Act, upcoming changes, and exemptions, as well as download related documents.
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.
Changes included in the Amendment Act
The changes in the Amendment Act include:
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.
Anyone who is successful in the Tenancy Tribunal can have their identifying details removed from the Tribunal’s decision.
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.
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.