How renting works in New Zealand

Find out how renting works in New Zealand, what types of tenancies are offered and what you need to know before you start renting.

Renting in New Zealand - what you need to know

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Types of tenancies

There are two different types of tenancies available in New Zealand - fixed term and periodic.

Fixed term

Fixed term tenancies have a start date and an end date and cannot be terminated by notice by either party unless both parties agree to terminate sooner.


This type of tenancy provides more flexibility since it can be terminated by notice by either party if their personal circumstances change. The standard notice periods are either 42 or 90 days by the landlord depending on the situation or 21 days by the tenant. For further information about tenancies and notice periods, read our renting FAQs.

Top tip: What is a flat?

When you start to rent in New Zealand, you will most likely come across the term ‘flat’ or ‘unit’. 

This is used to describe smaller properties, similar to apartments, that may be attached to another property.

Questions to ask when viewing a rental property

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Furnished vs Unfurnished

In Auckland the majority of rental properties are unfurnished, although more furnished properties - especially apartments - are coming to the market. In some cases, whiteware may be provided in unfurnished properties.

References and identification

You will be required to supply references along with the completed and signed the tenancy application form.

One of the most valuable references is from a previous landlord. However, if you have not rented before, character references from employers, a real estate salesperson (if you have sold your home) or any other person not directly related to you and your family will be required. You will be asked for photo ID (such as your passport or drivers licence), and may also be required to provide proof of income.

Letting fees and costs

From 12 December 2018, it became a prohibited act for a tenant to be required to pay a letting fee. This cost is now borne by a landlord.

Other fees
In New Zealand, tenants will be required to pay up to two week's rent in advance plus a bond of up to the equivalent of four weeks rent. The landlord can only legally claim up to four weeks bond. A landlord can recover the reasonable expenses incurred when consenting to a tenants assignment, subletting or parting with possession of the premises (such as in a fixed term break lease situation). To find out more about costs and bond, check out our renting FAQs.


Not all property owners will accept pets, particularly dogs. But many do change their mind after meeting the applicants and their pet so it's worth asking.

When you are applying for a property, it's a good idea to include with your application:

  • A pet reference from your previous landlord, or from your salesperson if you've moved out of your own property
  • A photo of the pet and lots of details about them - breed, size, where they sleep, etc
  • A copy of their council registration (if your pet is a dog).

Watch our top tips for renting with pets

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Need more information about renting in New Zealand?

Read our renting FAQs or contact one of our property managers.