RTA cover for "not legal residential properties"?

Question from Suzanne updated on 30th August 2013:

Are tenants covered by the Residential Tenancy Act if they are renting properties that are not legal residential properties e.g. ex-motels or un-consented flats. Are there any Tenancy Tribunal or court orders that you are aware of and are able to share?

Our expert Alan Bruce responded:

The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act) generally applies to all residential tenancies. However, certain situations are excluded from the Act. The situations that are considered exempt under the Act can be viewed by visiting http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1986/0120/latest/DLM95000.html. Unless an arrangement specifically falls within the exemptions outlined under the Act, both parties need to ensure that their obligations under the Act are complied with. For example, landlords are required to ensure that the premises comply with all the relevant health, safety, and building regulations that apply to the premises. If it is unclear whether the Act applies to a specific situation, parties can make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter determined. Where a situation is excluded from the Act, the parties can agree that the Act (or certain parts of the Act) will apply to their agreement, with the details of any such agreement clearly recorded in writing. Any party to any arrangement that is excluded from the Act may wish to seek independent legal advice from a solicitor or local Community Law Centre regarding their situation. Tenancy Tribunal decisions are available online through the Ministry of Justice’s website (https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search/TT/). You can search using the name of a landlord or tenant, and/or the address of a residential tenancy. You can also use the Tribunal’s application number if this is known. Not all orders are made public, and records may be accessed online for 36 months following the hearing. To discuss your situation further, or for information about applying to the Tenancy Tribunal, you can visit the Ministry’s website (www.dbh.govt.nz), or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

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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