NZ property rules that you need to knowThe Residential Tenancies Act 1986 governs all residential tenancies in New Zealand. Both tenants and landlords have certain obligations to meet and if they don’t meet these obligations then the other party to the agreement can make a claim against the other party via the Tenancy Tribunal.

The Tenancy Tribunal is administered by The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (previously the Department of Building and Housing) and is the vehicle that governs all tenancy disputes. Applications to the Tenancy Tribunal can be made online.

Property investors should take care to complete all necessary diligence reports when purchasing rental properties. If you live outside New Zealand and purchase a property then you are required by law to appoint an agent or property manager who resides in New Zealand.

As part of your diligence you should choose a professional property manager who you are confident will protect your investment and maximize your return.

If the property you intend to purchase already has tenants in occupation then you should check the existing tenancy agreement to make sure you are aware of all conditions that relate to the tenancy.

The most important aspect of all good property managers is communication. Property managers should keep all property owners updated on all issues that relate to a property.

Recently the Residential Tenancies Amendments Act 2010 introduced a variety of specific “unlawful acts” which now carry exemplary damages. These can be awarded if one party fails to meet their obligations. In order to be awarded these damages an application must be made to the Tenancy Tribunal.


The above exemplary damages are maximum amounts that can be awarded to tenants or landlords. Property managers, landlords or tenants may now seek these damages when applying to the Tribunal. The Tribunal will always use its discretion when considering these claims and evidence will need to be supplied by the applicant for all hearings.