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New Zealand's New Tenancy Reform

New Zealand's New Tenancy Reform


A new law is set to come into force on February 11, 2021, making it more difficult for landlords, among several other measures to evict tenants without justification. Significant amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 become legislation from February 11 onwards, incorporating tenants more strongly and making it more difficult for landlords to evict, for a much more narrow variety of purposes. It is imperative to note that the legislation has been amended after 35 long years. 


Landlords shall no longer be permitted to evict tenants by serving a 90 days' notice; the amendment provides that "specific grounds" need to be established for this purpose along with adjustment of notice periods.

In case the landlord or their family member wishes to occupy the said property, the landlord shall serve a 63 days' notice on the tenant for such eviction. In case of sale of the property, the landlord shall serve a 90 days' notice.

To evict problematic renters, landlords must document three separate anti-social incidents in a span of 90 days or show that the tenant has exceeded the limit to pay rent by five days, five times over 90 days.

Exceptional situation

Suppose tenants are at least 21 days in arrears for rent. In that case, if they have caused or attempted to cause "significant" harm, assaulted or threatened to assault others, used the house for criminal activity, or left home without returning, they can issue the eviction letter against such tenants to restore the possession of the rented place.


The reforms focus on creating a homely environment for renters. Tenants would be able to request fibre broadband (internet services), at no extra cost to them, landlords would have to bear the expenses for such a provision. However, the landlord is empowered to deny such a request under certain conditions;

  1. If the weather-tightness or the structural stability of the property is threatened,
  2. If it causes a breach of rules and regulations of the corporate body of the building; 
  3. If the owner intends to carry out extensive renovations in the upcoming 90 days
  4. If any such construction might lead to an unnecessary loss for the owner, such a request is then subject to refusal.

Tenants will also be entitled to make minor improvements to the house, such as hanging curtains, installing new fans, provisions, cables, or adding a pet door. If the modification is minimal, landlords will not be permitted to refuse. These are very minimal and necessary changes/modifications that the tenant requires and can only have a peaceful stay and a firm transition to the new house and feel like home without much hostility.

The landlord shall not be permitted to refuse such modifications without just cause. However, they may impose certain restrictions on how modifications shall be carried out. Further, if the modification cannot be reversed at the end of a tenancy, the landlord is permitted to reject the same.

Rent Prices

The amendments prohibit rental bidding wars, and all assets are to be marketed with an unequivocal price tag. Renters are permitted to pay a higher price than what is marketed, provided the landlord does not instigate the same.

If there are fair and enough reasons for the owner to refuse the following proposition then the renters would be permitted to move their "interests and responsibilities" to another person if not they cannot transfer the same.