Tenancy Agreements

Information that is required to be in your tenancy agreement:

  • The full name and contact address of both the landlord and the tenant.
  • The address of the premises
  • The date the tenancy agreement is signed
  • The date the tenancy begins
  • The landlords address for service.
  • If the tenant is under the age of 18 years old
  • The amount of rent and bond to be paid
  • How often the rent is to be paid
  • Where the rent is to be paid
  • Letting fees are now banned
  • If the tenant is to pay for metered water
  • If it is a fixed term, the day it expires
  • A list of any chattels (furniture or appliances provided with the tenancy)
  • A landlord statement regarding the insulation status of the property
  • All tenancy agreements must be in writing


There are often extra conditions added to the agreement (see special conditions).

A lot of the conditions within a tenancy contract are re-wording or re-stating the tenant rights and obligations as already written in the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.

A tenant is entitled to have time to read the contract and have it explained, including any extra conditions or attachments.

Just because a contract looks official and professional does not mean that all the conditions in it are legally binding. If in doubt about anything in the contract, seek advice.

A landlord can chose to waive / give away their rights but cannot make a tenant waive theirs.

Anything in the contract that is against the rules / in breach of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 is not binding, even if the contract is signed.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment produce a very good ‘Residential Tenancy Agreement’, which has been approved by The Office of the Tenancy Tribunal. This contract includes advice on how to complete it, a Property Inspection Report, a brief summary of the Residential Tenancies Act, and of course the Tenancy Agreement itself. 


Common mistakes

Not recording clearly if the contract is periodic or fixed term.
If a contract is for a fixed term, cross out the word ‘periodic’ and the section that says the tenant can give 28 days notice to vacate.
The tenant not receiving a copy of the tenancy agreement or of any extra pages attached to it.
A tenant is entitled to have a copy of everything they sign.
The tenant agreeing to a fixed term contract thinking that it will be easy to get out of it or to find a replacement tenant.
If there is a strong possibility that circumstances might change during a fixed term, do not sign one, even if it means missing out on that tenancy.
Not recording enough contact details for the landlord.
Have a full name and physical contact address for the landlord.

Contact Details

Tenants Protection Association (ChCh) Inc
Te Tōpū Tiaki-ā-Kainoho
Room 3, 301 Tuam Street, Christchurch 8011
Ph.(03) 379-2297

info [at] tpa [dot] org [dot] nz (subject: Enquiry%20from%20Website)