Adding sleepouts to property

Question from Simon updated on 20th March 2020:

We live in a freehold house in a mixed zone area. We have a small back yard and we are thinking of adding additional dwellings for income purposes. My question is can we put on three sleep outs and rent them out? Do I need consent if we renovate our existing toilet and kitchen for the sleep outs?

Our expert Jennifer Sykes responded:

Tenancy Services can only provide information relating to residential tenancies and unit titles. Information about building new dwellings and/or building consents for residential purposes should be directed to your local Council. Any building and renovation work would need to comply with all building, health and safety requirements.

If you are intending to use a premises for residential renting purposes, you will need to be across the Residential Tenancies Act and aware of your rights and responsibilities as a landlord. If the entire premises is intended to be occupied by less than six tenants at any time and is not the primary residence for the landlord, this is covered by the Act.

If the entire premise is intended to be occupied by at least six tenants at any time, this would be considered a boarding house tenancy, which means rent could be charged by the landlord to the tenants as part of a boarding house tenancy agreement. There are a number of requirements specific to boarding houses that you will need to comply with.

If you, as the homeowner, intend to stay in the premises as your primary place of residence and do not intend for the entire premise to be housed by six or more tenants, this living situation would be excluded from the Act, therefore tenancy obligations in regards to rent would not apply.

For more information on types of tenancies, go to You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter Tenancy Matters here

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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