Holiday rentals covered under RTA?

Question from Matthew updated on 4th June 2010:

I am a landlord based overseas short term with an investment property in New Zealand. The past 2-months rent payments have been inconsistent, with tenants falling behind. After a meeting and various calls I was given the promise of catch-up payments. Unfortunately I have not received any rent in the last 2 weeks (rent paid weekly) and tenants have been ignoring calls and messages. Today a member of my family based in NZ went around to property to find tenants halfway through moving out (property was vacant but most belongings removed) and house in a disgusting state. Rent owed is now over $1000.00 and there will be some obvious costs in cleaning required. I am worried that they are going to slip away without covering any of these costs, what are my rights and what steps can I take in retrieving costs? thank you

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

Tenants are required to give the landlord a minimum of 21 days notice in writing to terminate a periodic tenancy. In the case of a fixed term tenancy, both parties must agree to end the tenancy earlier. In either case, the tenant can be liable for rent until the tenancy ends.

If the tenant has abandoned the property (or if you cannot contact the tenant), you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for the tenancy to be terminated with possession of the premises returned to you. You can also request any rent owing, and for rent up until the tenancy has been terminated. If the Tribunal terminates the tenancy and returns possession to you, you can request a continuation from the Tribunal if further costs may be sought (e.g. cleaning), or if the tenant has left goods which will require a disposal order. If the tenancy is for a fixed term and the tenant has returned possession of the premises to you, the tenant may still be responsible for rent until a new tenant is found.

More information is available at To discuss your situation further, you can contact the Department of Building and Housing on 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262), or from overseas on +64 4 238 4695.

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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