Tenant options during renovations

Vanessa asks:
(updated on Monday, May 11th 2020)

My landlord has decided to remodel/renovate my rental from a two bedroom into a three bedroom house but he doesn’t want to lose us as tenants as we have been his tenants for close to ten years. What happens here? As in do we have to find other accommodation and pay for it ourselves and what about storage as the house will need to be empty? Does the landlord have any responsibilities concerning this? Where do all these costs lie? And do we still have to pay rent while renovations are happening?



Our Experts Answer:

Landlords can only enter a rental property after giving correct notice to carry out necessary repairs. Any work outside of this, including renovations, would not be considered necessary and requires agreement from the tenant in writing. If a tenant has agreed to renovations, the tenants’ right to ‘quiet enjoyment’ must be adhered to. Any renovation work cannot interfere with this.

Whether the tenants remain in the tenancy during the renovations or move out for a temporary time – any such agreement should be in writing and clearly describe the terms and conditions of what has been agreed to. Suggestions of what could be included in such an agreement are: the expected time it will take to complete the renovations; alternate arrangements agreed on for you and your belongings - some options for this could include offering a ‘rent holiday’ (reducing the rent for a specified time) or the landlord paying for alternative accommodation (if agreed that you will vacate the tenancy during the renovation work). It would also be worthwhile to clarify who will pay for outgoings (such as power and water) at the property being renovated during this time, and what will happen if the renovations are not completed in the expected timeframe.

If you cannot come to an agreement with the landlord and if the renovations are not deemed necessary repairs or maintenance, the landlord may not be able to undertake the renovation work while the premise is tenanted.

Please note, these responses apply under normal circumstances. Under the current Covid-19 lockdown, you must continue to comply with the current lockdown rules and guidelines during this period. This includes recent changes in tenancy legislation, such as a freeze on rent increases and protections against tenancy terminations.

For more information see: www.tenancy.govt.nz/about-tenancy-services/news/coronavirus-covid-19-what-landlords-and-tenants-need-to-know/. For further information on access to a rental property, see www.tenancy.govt.nz/maintenance-and-inspections/access/. You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter Tenancy Matters here.  

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