A tenancy agreement is a contract, agreed to between a landlord and a tenant, which outlines the particular conditions of a tenancy. Both the landlord and tenant must sign the agreement and the landlord must ensure that the tenant receives a copy before the tenancy begins.

Among other things, the agreement must specify the names of the parties involved, the bond, a list of chattels, the date the tenancy will start and end (if it has a fixed term) and a contact address for the landlord.

A standard tenancy agreement is available from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.

Types of tenancy

There are 4 types of tenancy.

Fixed-term tenancy runs for a period of time set out in the tenancy agreement. Neither the tenant nor the landlord may end the tenancy before the term is up.

This means if you agree to rent a property for a year but after 6 months decide to go overseas, you will continue to be responsible for the rent. However, if the landlord agrees to another tenant and a new tenancy agreement is signed your responsibility ends.

In exceptional circumstances, you can also apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for termination of tenancy. The tribunal will decide whose hardship would be greater - yours, if tenancy were to continue, or the landlord's, if it ends. It will rule accordingly, and can order compensation to be paid.

Periodic tenancy continues until either the landlord or tenant brings it to an end by giving notice. There's a correct way to do this.

Service tenancy occurs where an employer provides accommodation for an employee. Service tenancies are covered by the Residential Tenancies Act but have special rules relating to rent paid in advance and notices to quit.

We suggest you get more details from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment if you are about to enter a service tenancy.

Boarding house tenancy covers one or more boarding rooms in a house with shared facilities for at least 6 tenants for more than 28 days.

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