Holding passport as security

Dean asks:
(updated on Wednesday, November 18th 2009)

Is it legal for a landlord / or their agent to take a tenants passport as security?

Our Experts Answer:

The Passports Act 1992 (the Act) is the legislation that deals with New Zealand passports. Section 33 of this Act states that New Zealand passports are the property of the New Zealand Government, and that no holder shall give, make, or accept a New Zealand passport as a security, pledge, or deposit.
This information can be viewed on the New Zealand legislation website.

For further information about New Zealand passports, I suggest you seek independent legal advice from your local community law centre. Landlords are however encouraged to carry out pre-tenancy checks on prospective tenants, which may include:
• credit checks
• viewing the Tenancy Tribunal Orders Online website to see if any previous Tenancy Tribunal orders have been made by or against prospective tenants (www.tenancytribunal.govt.nz)
• requesting references
• collecting a bond from tenants (which can be up to a maximum of 4 weeks rent)

Landlords can also access a pre-tenancy application form from our website, as well as a pre-letting checklist for landlords. For further information about pre-tenancy checks, you can contact the Department of Building and Housing on 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.



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