House-sitting vs sub-letting

Question from Graeme updated on 12th April 2019:

Do I have the right as a tenant to invite whoever I wish to my home to look after my belongings, feed my pet(s), water my garden, and take my rubbish and recycling out when I go away for a few days? Do I have any obligation to inform anybody that I'm going on holiday, other than my employer? If the rent is paid up to date why would my landlord have an interest?



Our expert Jennifer Sykes responded:

Under the Residential Tenancies Act a tenant cannot assign, sublet, or part with possession of the premises without the landlord’s written consent. In some tenancy agreements this may be prohibited. A “house-sitting” situation where no payment is received is not covered by the RTA and would not generally be viewed as sub-letting. If payment is received for the use of the premises while you are not occupying it then this would be sub-letting, even where it is only for a short time.

As a tenant you are allowed to invite people into your house to stay with you or to house sit, but you are responsible for anything they do while they are there. If you are planning to go away for a long period of time, you should consider informing your landlord and your own insurer (if any) as it may have implications for any insurance they or you hold in relation to the property.

For more on the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, go to or 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.

Search the Ask an Expert archive

Browse all questions in the Ask An Expert Archive »

Site by PHP Developer