Separating tenancy agreements

Question from Marion updated on 15th September 2017:

I am looking for a new tenant for my rental property which costs $530 per week. One applicant wants to move in with his father who can pay no more than $500 via WINZ (he is on permanent disability). The applicant wishes to make up the shortfall. I am happy with this arrangement.

However, how do I word the tenancy agreement as WINZ need to see it? Can I do two separate agreements for the same house? Or will WINZ accept what is basically a house share agreement?



Our expert Allan Galloway responded:

The Residential Tenancies Act allows a landlord to enter into separate tenancy agreements with individual tenants for their agreed share of the total rent payable for the property. Each tenant would then pay rent for the exclusive use of their room and the right to share the rest of the household facilities. This also means that the landlord cannot hold the individual tenants liable for any non-payment of rent by the other tenants in the premises. These are sometimes referred to as “room by room” tenancies.

A house-sharing agreement is usually an agreement between the tenant (the person named on the tenancy agreement), and a boarder or flatmate (not named on the tenancy agreement) that the tenant has permitted to live at the premises. This type of arrangement between a tenant and their flatmate or boarder is not covered by the Act. The tenant would be responsible to ensure you receive the full agreed rent, regardless of what money they receive or do not receive from their boarder or flatmate.

You can also provide a single tenancy agreement with multiple tenants named on the agreement. It would then be for the tenants to organise between themselves how they will ensure you receive the rent when it is due. Both tenants would be liable for any unpaid rent.

But you will need to contact WINZ regarding the tenants’ requirements.

For more on the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, or if any of the tenants named on the agreement will be minors, go to or 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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