Post-tenancy Tribunal time frames

Question from Kim updated on 12th March 2018:

I am trying to find a time-length expiry on applications to the Tenancy Tribunal after a contract with tenants has finished. I can't see it their not great website and I can't find it by goggling. I haven't rung the Tribunal or Tenancy Services as I would like to have the information in writing not verbal. I don't want to be holding onto my photos, emails etc for the next few years just in case.



Our expert Jennifer Sykes responded:

From 1 July 2016, changes to the Residential Tenancies Act require landlords to keep proper business records relating to a tenancy for seven tax years after the year they relate to. Business records means rent and bond payment records. In addition the landlord must retain specified documents during any tenancy and for a period of 12 months after the termination of the tenancy.

These documents include the tenancy agreement and any variations or renewals, any reports of inspections carried out during the tenancy, records of any maintenance or repair work carried out at the rental during the tenancy, and any correspondence with the tenant relating to the rental.

A landlord or tenant has up to six years in most cases to make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal after a tenancy has ended. This time-frame and what can be pursued is set by the Limitations Act. For this reason it is recommended you retain all documentation for at least seven years from when a tenancy ends.

Decisions on these matters are made by the Tenancy Tribunal. Landlords need to ensure they have a valid forwarding address for the tenant if they are planning to make a Tenancy Tribunal application after the tenancy terminates, as the address for service provided by the tenant during a tenancy (usually the rental address on the tenancy agreement) can only be used if the Tribunal application is filed within two months after the end date of the tenancy.

If an application is submitted more than two months after the tenancy ends, a landlord must give a new contact address for the tenant that is not the previous tenancy address and was provided by the tenant within the two months before the application is filed. They may have to prove that the new address is valid (i.e: when and how the tenant provided it to them). Failure to do so may result in a delay until the notice of hearing can be given to the tenant as required.

For more information on the Tenancy Tribunal process, go to You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter Landlord News 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.

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