Renting Guide

Periodic tenancy meaning: Fixed term vs. periodic compared

What’s the difference between a fixed term and a periodic tenancy? Let’s take a closer look.

Last updated: 2 May 2024

Residential tenancies can be either periodic or fixed term. Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant it’s important that you’re aware of the difference so you can provide the correct notice if you want to end the tenancy. Here’s everything you need to know. 

Meaning of ‘periodic tenancy’

Periodic tenancy agreements have no end unless correct written notice is given by either the landlord or the tenant. They’re different from fixed tenancy agreements, which do have an end date - more on this later. 

Giving notice to end a periodic tenancy


To end a periodic tenancy a tenant must provide 28 days notice in writing, unless the landlord agrees to a shorter notice term. If there are more than one tenants on the agreement and one of them provides notice the tenancy agreement ends for all tenants. 

Tenants can also remove themselves from the tenancy if they’ve experienced family violence by providing two days' written notice with evidence of said family violence. 


The length of notice that landlords must give to end a periodic tenancy agreement depends on the reason for the notice. 

90 days notice must be given if

  • The property is to be sold within 90 days of the tenancy termination. 

  • The owner must give a purchaser vacant possession under an unconditional agreement. 

  • The landlord’s interest in the property is about to end (if the landlord isn’t the owner). 

  • The property is to be converted for commercial use. 

  • The landlord intends to demolish the property, undertake extensive renovations or redevelopment of the property. 

Download the Tenancy Services 90 days notice template here

63 days notice must be given if

  • The owner wants to live in the property, within 90 days of terminating the tenancy, for at least 90 days. 

  • The landlord intends to use the property to house their employees or contractors. 

Download the Tenancy Services 63 days notice template here

Note: 14 days notice must be given by the landlord if the tenant physically assaults the landlord, a family member or a real estate agent. 

Make sure you know how your tenancy agreement works before you move in or sign.

Landlords can also apply to the tenancy tribunal to end a periodic tenancy if

  • Rent is at least five working days late on three separate occasions in a 90 day period. 

  • The tenant displays anti-social behavior on at least three separate occasions in a 90 day period. 

The difference between fixed term and periodic tenancy

Periodic tenancies have no end date, whereas fixed term tenancies do. If your tenancy is fixed term your agreement should clearly state a beginning date, an end date, and the length of the fixed period. 

Once a fixed term ends it automatically changes to a periodic tenancy unless both parties agree otherwise. Unlike periodic tenancies, landlords can’t give notice to end fixed term tenancies during the fixed period but both parties can agree to terminate the tenancy in writing. 

Landlords must usually provide 90 days of notice to end a tenancy at the end of the fixed term, whereas tenants must provide 28.

Read more about notice periods when ending fixed term tenancies

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is general in nature. While facts have been checked, the article does not constitute an advice service. The article is only intended to provide general information about the renting in NZ. Nothing in this article constitutes a recommendation to any person. If you don't understand your tenancy agreement we highly recommend you seek professional advice.


Ben Tutty
Ben Tutty

Ben Tutty is a regular contributor for Trade Me and he's also contributed to Stuff and the Informed Investor. He's got 10+ years experience as both a journalist and website copywriter, specialising in real estate, finance and tourism. Ben lives in Wānaka with his partner and his best mate (Finnegan the whippet).