Selling guide

Mastering tenant selection: a landlord's guide to getting it right

Get this key decision right.

Last updated: 7 May 2024

Picking the right tenant can feel overwhelming. You want someone reliable and respectful, but where do you start? And how do you make sure you're playing fair? Here, we explain why it's so crucial to keep bias out of the mix, why a steady and systematic approach is your best bet, and what your insurance provider is likely to expect from you.

The importance of unbiased tenant selection

First off, let's get one thing straight – there's absolutely no room for discrimination in tenant selection. Not only is it unethical, but it also goes against New Zealand's Human Rights Act and the Residential Tenancies Act, which prohibit discrimination on various grounds, including age, marital and family status and employment. Picking a tenant should be about their ability to keep up with rent and take good care of your property, nothing else.

Learn more about common grounds for discrimination.

Personal ethics in tenant selection

While it's natural to have personal beliefs and values, these should not influence the tenant selection process. Applying personal ethics can lead to biased decisions, potentially discriminating against certain groups of people. This not only goes against the principles of fairness but can also lead to legal repercussions and harm your reputation as a landlord.

It's illegal to allow biases to influence your tenant selection.

Adopting a methodical approach

A systematic approach to tenant selection involves several key steps:

1. Set clear criteria:

Kick things off by figuring out exactly what you're looking for in a tenant, focusing on their ability to pay rent on time and maintain the property.

2. An application form that does the heavy lifting:

Use a detailed application form that gathers all the necessary information you need to make an informed decision.

3. Dig a little deeper with thorough background checks:

Don't skip the background checks – references, credit history, and any past tenancy issues should all be on your radar.

4. Keep it consistent:

Make sure you treat every applicant the same way to maintain consistency and fairness.

Insurance requirements and tenant selection

Insurance providers often have specific requirements for tenant selection, and it's all about minimising risk. Meeting these requirements is essential to ensure that you’re covered in case of tenant-related incidents. Some of the common requirements include:

  • ID Details for each adult tenant
  • Written or verbal references for each adult tenant
  • Credit check
  • Tenancy Tribunal check
  • Written records of pre-tenancy checks conducted for each adult tenant
  • Collect a total of three weeks' rent in any combination of rent in advance and bond that will be registered with Tenancy Services.

Separating personal beliefs and ethics from the tenant selection process isn’t just a legal requirement; it's a commitment to professionalism, fairness, and the long-term success of your property management business. At myRent, we’re dedicated to providing the tools, resources, and support you need to navigate this challenging aspect of property management with confidence.

The information contained in this article is exclusively for promotional purposes. It does not in any way constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as the basis for any legal action or contractual dealings. The information is not, and does not attempt to be, a comprehensive account of the relevant law in New Zealand. If you require legal advice you should seek independent legal counsel. does not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.



myRent is the #1 property management software for self-managing landlords in Aotearoa New Zealand. It provides a comprehensive suite of tools that simplify every aspect of managing a rental property — from tenancy agreements and rent collection to maintenance tracking and compliance updates. As recognised experts in property management, they regularly publish articles and offer guidance that helps tens of thousands of landlords manage their properties effectively and compliantly.