How can I find former tenants who defaulted on payments?

Gillian Cooper asks:
(updated on Thursday, September 20th 2007)

Around 12-15 months ago, we had a tenant in one of our investment properties who defaulted on rent and caused damages to the property. They were evicted through the correct procedures. Subsequently, we went through the legal process and have an outstanding court order for a set amount, however we have not been successful in recovering any of this amount through this process. My understanding is that the primary issue has been locating the tenants. Are there any ways that we can track down the location of these tenants?

Our Experts Answer:

The Ministry of Justice needs a current address for the person named on the Tenancy Tribunal order so they can commence enforcement proceedings.

If you do not have a current address for the person named on the order, the Department of Building and Housing may be able to help you find one. To request address information from the Department of Building and Housing and Work and Income New Zealand, complete a request for information form.

  • You can download the form from,
  • call 0800 TENANCY (0800 83 62 62) to order a form,
  • or visit a Department of Building and Housing office or the collections unit at a District Court.

More information on this service can be found at

It is also recommended that when you sign up a new tenant that you collect as much information as you can about them. This should include a permanent address (such as a parent or relative) which would still be valid after the tenant has left you property. You might also like to ask for copies of a form of photo ID (like a passport of driving license). Some landlords also ask for car registration details as these can be used to track down tenants using NZ Posts vehicle registration database.

Bookstore recommended reading:
Landlording in New Zealand by Frank Saxton $24.95

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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