Our Experts Answer:
The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act) applies only to the relationship between a tenant and landlord (including a sub-tenant and a sub-landlord). It does not cover the relationship between tenants. It is unclear whether your tenant has a sub-let arrangement or a flat-share arrangement as both your tenant and the sub-tenant continue to reside in the premises. Typically, a sublet arrangement occurs where a tenant passes possession of the premises to a third party. It does not usually include an arrangement where the tenant continues to live in the premises or where the tenant/sub-landlord shares part of their dwelling with the sub-tenant. This type of arrangement may be considered to be a flat-share arrangement and would therefore not be covered under the Act. However, where the tenant remains at the premises and only a section of the premises has been rented (e.g. a completely self-contained unit) then this may be considered a sub-let if the sub-tenant does not have access to the sub-landlord’s dwelling. For situations that are covered under the Act, in most cases landlords (including sub-landlords) are required to give a minimum of 90 days’ notice to terminate a periodic tenancy. Fixed-term tenancies cannot be ended by notice but may be ended by mutual consent (or by the Tenancy Tribunal in limited circumstances). Notices to terminate a tenancy must contain certain information and service time must also be allowed for. If it is unclear whether your tenant has a sublet situation or a flat-share arrangement then either party may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved. Parties to a flat-share arrangement may wish to seek independent legal advice from their local community law centre regarding their situation. Visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment - Building and Housing Group’s website (www.dbh.govt.nz) or phone or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262) for more information.