Our Experts Answer:
Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act), tenants are not restricted from duplicating keys, or from providing keys to other parties. However, tenants are responsible for the actions of anyone who is in the premises with their permission, including where they have permitted access to a third party by providing them with a key. Tenants also have an obligation under the Act to return to the landlord all keys and security or pass cards provided by the landlord at the end of the tenancy. Where a tenant duplicates keys to the premises, the landlord should discuss the matter with the tenant highlighting that they are responsible for the actions of anyone in the premises with their permission, and to determine what will happen at the end of the tenancy in respect of the extra keys (e.g. whether the tenant will return all duplicated keys to the landlord). Where the landlord and tenant cannot reach an agreement, either party may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved, which may include determining whether the tenant is responsible for the cost of replacing the locks if this is required to ensure the premises are secure for any future tenancies (where extra keys are not returned). To discuss your situation further, or for information about landlord or tenant rights and obligations in respect of entry into the premises, you can visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Building and Housing Group’s website (www.dbh.govt.nz), or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).