The Residential Tenancies Act (the Act) is the law that protects tenants and landlords in New Zealand. Not all living arrangements are covered by the Act.

The Act applies to every tenancy for residential purposes (renting a place to live in), except in certain cases. The Act doesn’t cover, for example, flatmates, student accommodation, holiday homes, hotels and motels, hospitals and rest-homes, or commercial tenancies.

Sometimes, parties to a living arrangement not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act (the Act) decide they’d like to be covered. To do this, they can make an agreement with each other stating that the Act will apply to their living arrangement. This is known as ‘contracting in’ to the Act.

Residential Tenancies Act (external link)  is on the New Zealand legislation website.


The Act applies to every tenancy for residential purposes (renting a place to live in), except in certain cases. The Act protects landlords and tenants, but not flatmates.


Some types of living arrangements aren’t covered by the Act.


Sometimes, parties in a living arrangement are not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act (the Act) and decide they’d like to be covered.