What are my responsibilities to my tenants if I go overseas?

Ask Kiri

Heading overseas? Whether you are off on a short holiday or an extended stay abroad, learn about your legal obligations to your tenants while you are out of the country.

Going overseas for more than 21 days

As a private landlord, if you will be going out of New Zealand for more than 21 consecutive days, you must appoint an agent to manage your rental property during the time you are away. 

Landlords may appoint anyone as their agent, however the agent should be someone who is fully aware of (and able to fulfill) the legal requirements, obligations and responsibilities of managing a rental property. 

You will need to let your tenants know who the agent is, and how they can contact the agent (via a contact number and a physical address for service). 

It is important to note that failure to appoint an agent and follow the procedure is an unlawful act under the Residential Tenancy Act, and landlords can be liable for exemplary damages of up to $1000.

If you have a property manager, all you will need to do is let them know that you will be away. You won't need to do any of the above as your property manager is already appointed as your agent. 

Going overseas for less than 21 days

Even if you are away for less than 21 days, it is still a good idea to have someone back home as a point of contact for your tenants. This means you will be able to relax, know that your rental property is taken care of, and enjoy your time overseas.