About the 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(external link)

Ads for rental properties must include a rental price. Lan

Changes included in the Amendment Act

Most of the changes in the Amendment Act are now in force. They 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. 

Enforcement 

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.  

Pending changes

Regulations are pending that will allow the following changes to be made: 

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. 

Exemptions

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)

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

Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019(external link) 

Related documents

Impact Summary: Termination of tenancy for assault on a landlord  

Impact Summary: Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill – Supplementary Order Paper  

Reform of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 – Bill, Cabinet Paper and Timeline  

Reform of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 – Further minor policy issues for drafting  

Reform of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 - Ultra-Fast broadband installations in rental properties 

Reform of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 - Definition of landlord's or owner's family member 

Reform of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 - Minor policy issues drafting 

Cabinet Minute – Oral Item Reform of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986  

Regulatory Impact Assessment – RTA Reform – Improving Fairness in the Act  

Cabinet Minute – Reform of the RTA 1986 – Improving Fairness in the Act  

Cabinet Paper – Reform of the RTA 1986 – Improving Fairness in the Act  

Regulatory Impact Assessment – RTA Reform – Minor Fittings, Rent Setting and Access to Justice  

Cabinet Minute – Reform of the RTA 1986 Minor Fittings Rent Settings and Access to Justice  

Cabinet Paper – Reform of the RTA 1986 Minor Fittings Rent Setting and Access to Justice 

Healthy Homes Guarantee Act monitoring Wave 2 research 2021