Question from Aimee updated on 5th November 2018:
I have decided to rent out one room in my house. I understand that live-in landlords/flatmates are not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). A friend mentioned that if my flatmate and I both agree in writing that the RTA can be implemented, is that the case? If not, I would really like a formal agreement. I have done some research, and am yet to find a “form”. Are there any out there or do I need to have one written up?
Our expert Jennifer Sykes responded:
There are certain situations which are not covered by the RTA. These include situations where the premises are a principle place of residence for the owner or landlord or any member of their family; such as where the owner or landlord lives with their flatmates or boarders. A tenant would be considered a landlord of any flatmates they invite in to live with them, which means the arrangement between them would not be covered by the Act.
However, there is a provision where parties that are normally excluded from the RTA (i.e. landlords and their flatmates) can contract into the RTA, or at least parts of it. For example, parents renting their property to their adult children (and not living at the same premises) are excluded from the RTA, but they can choose to contract in by completing a tenancy agreement. It is important for any parties who are excluded from the RTA, but who want to contract into the RTA, to fully understand what this will mean, and what obligations they will be required to comply with as landlords and tenants.
You should include a clause confirming what all parties have agreed to in the written tenancy agreement so that it is clear to the Tenancy Tribunal what jurisdiction they have and how you have agreed the RTA (or parts) will apply to your arrangement. Standard form agreements, including the Ministry’s standard tenancy agreement and a sample flat/house sharing agreement can be located on our websiteThe 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.