Adding changes to tenancy agreements

Michelle asks:
(updated on Wednesday, October 14th 2020)

With regard to a tenancy agreement, Is a tenant allowed to add faults to a tenancy agreement after the landlord has already signed? The tenant refused to sign at the time and asked, after I had signed, if they could look over the agreement. I did not give permission for the tenant to "add anything" and they made no attempt to discuss with me.

Our Experts Answer:

A tenant cannot add conditions to a tenancy agreement without their landlord’s agreement. Any variation of a tenancy agreement needs to be agreed by both the landlord and tenant. Any variation should always be in writing and signed.

If you have not agreed with the changes made by the tenant, both you and the tenant will need to complete a new tenancy agreement. If you are able to reach an agreement with your tenant, you should both sign the tenancy agreement and ensure you supply a copy to the tenant for their records. If both parties are not able to reach an agreement, you may choose to use our mediation services to help resolve this matter: https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/disputes/mediation/.

It’s worth noting, even when there is no written tenancy agreement, the Residential Tenancies Act still applies. From 11 February 2021, new provisions come into effect in relation to tenancy agreements. If a landlord does not provide the tenant with a signed tenancy agreement in writing before the tenancy commences, then the landlord will have committed an unlawful act.

For more information on tenancy agreements see: https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/starting-a-tenancy/tenancy-agreements/. For more information on new law changes see: https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/law-changes. You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter Tenancy Matters here.

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