Selling guide

Staying ahead of compliance: common oversights and solutions for NZ landlords

What you don’t know can hurt you

Last updated: 7 May 2024

Private landlords in Aotearoa are constantly navigating a maze of rules and regulations. Understanding and adhering to tenancy laws isn't just a matter of ethics; it's a legal requirement.

Aotearoa has seen many changes to its tenancy laws over the past years. These changes aim to balance the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords, ensuring that the rental environment is fair, safe, and favourable for all parties involved. But for many private landlords, staying updated with these ever-shifting regulations becomes a task in itself.

It's easy to understand how some details might be overlooked, no matter how crucial. But this oversight, often stemming from a lack of awareness, can lead to significant repercussions in terms of penalties and damaged reputations. For many, the saying "what you don't know can hurt you" rings painfully true in this context.

Common areas of oversight

Being a landlord isn’t just about collecting rent. It's a multifaceted role, requiring compliance with many rules, some of which can be unintentionally overlooked. These areas can often trip up even the most well-intentioned private landlords:

1. Regulations around rent increases

Landlords often have the right to increase rent, but this comes with strict conditions. For example, rent can only be increased once every 12 months, and proper notice must be given. Overlooking these details can result in legal complications.

The law doesn't limit how much landlords can increase rent by, and in certain situations, rent can be increased outside the 12-month period (e.g. allowing tenants to have pets or adding a garage).

2. Proper notice for ending a tenancy

Landlords can't simply end a tenancy without proper notice. There are prescribed notice periods and procedures in place, ensuring both parties have time to prepare.

Tenancy Services has an excellent online tool to determine whether you can give notice to end your tenancy and how much notice you need to give.

You need to take great care of the electronic records you have of your tenants.

3. Tenant privacy and personal data

With the digital age, landlords often maintain records of tenants electronically. They must be cautious about what information they collect and how they store and handle this data, ensuring it aligns with privacy laws, such as the New Zealand Privacy Act. Unauthorised sharing or loss of tenant data can lead to legal repercussions.

4. Insurance disclosures

Some landlords may not be aware that they need to inform their tenants if the property is or isn't insured, and the excess amount of any relevant policies. Non-disclosure can sometimes affect claims or liabilities.

5. Handling of bond payments

The bond acts as a security for landlords, ensuring they have a safeguard against unpaid rent or property damage. Yet, landlords must remember that this bond must be lodged with Tenancy Services within 23 working days. Failing to do so can result in hefty fines.

6. Entry provisions for repairs

While landlords can enter the property for repairs, there are specific notice requirements and entry times to adhere to. Unplanned visits, even if well-intentioned, can be considered breaches.

7. Abandoned goods

If a tenant leaves behind personal items after moving out, landlords can't simply dispose of them immediately. There are regulations around how to handle abandoned goods, including holding onto them for a specified period and giving the tenant an opportunity to claim them.

8. Clarifications on "fair wear and tear"

Over the tenancy period, properties will naturally show signs of use, termed 'fair wear and tear'. Confusion over this can lead to disputes at the end of tenancy, especially regarding bond deductions.

What is "normal wear and tear"? Learn here.

The Price of Ignorance

While the phrase "ignorance is bliss" might hold water in some situations, when it comes to tenancy laws in Aotearoa, ignorance can come at a significant cost. Private landlords, whether inadvertently or through willful neglect, who fail to adhere to regulations can find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

1. Financial penalties

The most immediate and tangible impact of non-compliance is often monetary. Fines can be substantial, especially for repeated breaches or particularly blatant oversights. For example, failing to lodge bond payments correctly, or not meeting the Healthy Homes Standards can result in hefty penalties.

You can receive substantial fines for compliance oversights.

2. Legal disputes

Beyond financial penalties, landlords can find themselves embroiled in lengthy disputes. Whether it's a disagreement over bond deductions, tenancy termination processes, or maintenance responsibilities, the disputes can be time-consuming and draining, both emotionally and financially.

3. Strained landlord-tenant relationships

A good relationship between a landlord and tenant can make the rental experience smoother and more enjoyable for both parties. However, misunderstandings or perceived negligence regarding tenancy laws can strain this relationship, leading to mistrust, frequent disputes, and a higher tenant turnover.

The ramifications of not staying updated and compliant with tenancy laws extend far beyond a simple fine or warning. For private landlords in Aotearoa, investing time and resources in understanding and adhering to these regulations isn't just a recommendation – it's a necessity.

Bridging the gap with technology

Technology is transforming the landscape of property management, acting as a bridge between unawareness and confident compliance. Instead of feeling burdened by the multitude of regulations, landlords can harness these tools to make compliance seamless, efficient, and, in many ways, second nature. As tenancy laws continue to evolve, leaning into technology ensures landlords remain agile, informed, and always a step ahead.

Compliant document creation and guidance

One of the most common pitfalls in property management is the mishandling of legal documents. Modern software solutions not only provide customisable templates for all the essential paperwork, that can be easily e-signed, but they also feature step-by-step guides and educational resources accompanying each document. No more second-guessing clauses or fretting over missed details; everything is streamlined and compliant, giving landlords peace of mind and tenants clarity and security.

Software packages can streamline a lot of your compliance needs.

Real-time updates

With legislation constantly evolving, one of the biggest challenges for landlords is keeping abreast of changes. Modern software can provide real-time notifications whenever there are changes or updates to tenancy laws, ensuring you’re never caught off guard.

Advanced rent management

Property management software today is like having an extra set of eyes on rent. It can quietly keep track of payments, flag any missed ones, and send gentle reminders to landlords and tenants. With the right tools, there’s no need to sift through bank statements or wonder about late rents; there’s always a straightforward way to keep everything on track.

Automated reminders

Forget manually tracking dates for property inspections, maintenance tasks, or rent reviews. Advanced software systems come with reminder systems that alert landlords about upcoming obligations, significantly reducing the chances of oversight.

Centralised record-keeping

Maintaining organised, accessible records is paramount. With digital tools, all necessary documents – from tenancy agreements to maintenance receipts – are stored in one centralised location, accessible from anywhere, anytime.

Efficient communication with tenants

Some software solutions offer integrated communication platforms, making interactions with tenants straightforward and documented. Whether discussing repairs or sending official notices, these platforms can streamline and archive all communication. Having third party verified records is invaluable when it comes to disputes and Tribunal evidence.

Financial tracking and reporting

Modern property management software often includes financial tools to help landlords monitor income and expenses.

Tenant self-service portals

Modern property management software often includes financial tools to help landlords monitor income and expenses.

Some property management software solutions offer portals where tenants can independently report maintenance issues, check agreement terms, or even make online payments. This simplifies the process for landlords and empowers tenants, making the rental experience more transparent and collaborative.

If you're wondering where to find a platform with all these bells and whistles, look no further than myRent. It's not just another software – it's specifically designed with NZ landlords in mind. From rent collection to customisable tenancy documents, myRent offers an all-in-one solution to make property management seamless and compliant. Ready to make the switch to hassle-free property management? Learn more about what myRent can do for you, or sign up to give your landlord journey the upgrade it deserves.

Embracing technology isn't just about staying compliant or streamlining operations; it's about anticipating the future and being prepared. Software solutions provide landlords with the precision of a legal expert and the efficiency of a seasoned manager, all wrapped into one. In this digital age, while what you don't know can indeed hurt you, what you choose to learn and adapt can empower you beyond measure.

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.