Suspect notice

Question from Debbie updated on 20th December 2017:

We have recently moved out of a rental property. The notice period was 42 days as the landlord stated that they or their family were going to move in. Since we have moved out, they have had many contractors in, but are yet to move in themselves. If they put the property up for sale without moving in, do I have any rights?

Our expert Jennifer Sykes responded:

A periodic tenancy may be ended with 42 days’ notice for the following reasons:

  • the owner requires the premises back as the principal place of residence for themselves or any member of their  family;
  • the property has been sold with an unconditional contract and the purchaser requires vacant possession;
  • the property is normally used as employee accommodation and is required for that purpose and this is clearly stated in the tenancy agreement.

In any other case landlords are required to give 90 days’ written notice to terminate a periodic tenancy, but they do not need to specify the reason for the notice. 

An owner is not able to terminate the tenancy with 42 days’ notice if they or their family member will be maintaining a principal place of residence elsewhere during the renovations. The owner or the family member who requires the property would generally be required to use the property as their principal place of residence while carrying out the work and must intend to continue to use the property as their principal place of residence once the renovations are complete.

A tenant should discuss their concerns with the landlord in the first instance if they think the reason for the notice may not be genuine. A notice of 42 days’ will remain valid so long as the landlord has the appropriate reason for giving it at the time it was given. If they are unable to agree on a way to settle the matter between themselves, then either party may make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved.

For more on the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, go to www.tenancy.govt.nz.

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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