How much notice is given if landlord wants to renovate and live in rental?

Question from Teena updated on 3rd December 2010:

My husband & I have a house in Christchurch which is currently rented. At the end of the year/early next year we will be shifting to Christchurch & would like to live in our property. I know that if we are to live in it the length of notice is shorter than the 90 days. The thing is, before we move in we would like to do a few renovations etc. Does this still count? We wouldn't be letting it to anyone else, we would just be making some changes to suit us as a family. How much notice must I give the tenants? Many thanks for your help.

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

The Residential Tenancies Act (the Act) sets out the requirements to terminate a periodic tenancy (i.e. where the tenancy is not for a fixed term). Landlords (as listed on the tenancy agreement) are required to give a minimum of 90 days notice in writing, but may give shorter notice of 42 days to terminate the tenancy if they require the property for occupation by themselves or a family member.

However, the Act does not specify a period of time in which the landlord or family member must start living in the property. If you are the landlord listed on the tenancy agreement, while it is not a requirement, I recommend that you talk to your tenant about your intention to renovate the property before you move in. This will help avoid any misunderstandings about whether your reason for giving 42 days’ notice is genuine.

Alternatively, you may wish to give 90 days notice to avoid any uncertainty. Service time needs to be allowed for delivering the notice to the tenant. If you hand the letter to the tenant the notice takes effect immediately. However, if you drop it in the tenant’s letterbox you must allow an extra two working days, and if posted to the tenant you must allow an extra four working days. You should keep a copy of the notice for your records.  

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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