Blog » Covid-19 for Landlords and Renters

Covid-19 for Landlords and Renters

Alide Elkink  |  April 14, 2020

We’re into Week 3 of the 28-day lockdown period, so how are landlords and renters coping? The following are some of the things both landlords and renters should be aware of.

Changes to residential renting under lockdown

A number of changes to residential rentals were introduced soon after the announcement that New Zealand was going into the Level 4 lockdown, including that there would be:

  • a 6-month rent freeze on residential tenancies
  • tenancies would not be able to be terminated during the lockdown period, except where parties are in agreement or under very limited other circumstances.

The 6-month rent freeze

The rent freeze is intended to provide some financial protection to tenants in the following months with many are unable to work and in particular, where tenants have lost their job.

No rent holiday

The ‘no terminations’ clause is intended to provide protection for tenants against a landlord ending a tenancy for the 3-month period during and following the lockdown. But this does not mean a rent holiday for tenants. Where tenants are 60 days (this is up from the previous 21 days) or more in rent arrears, an application may still be made to the Tenancy Tribunal to terminate the tenancy. With any application made the Tribunal must however, take into account whether the tenant is making a reasonable effort to pay the rent.

If you are having difficulty in paying the rent

Tenants who are experiencing financial hardship due to job loss and lack of income should contact us at Nightingales so we can discuss the situation and negotiate a way through this next period of time. You should also contact Work and Income ( as you may be eligible for a rent supplement.

Tenants may terminate a tenancy under the normal (pre-Covid-19) requirements

Tenants may still terminate their tenancy under the normal requirements (i.e. 21 days notice except where there is a fixed-term tenancy agreement). But of course, moving house under the present situation is difficult.

If a tenant contracts Covid-19

A tenant is not required to notify their landlord if they test positive for Covid-19 and having Covid-19 (or any other illness) is NOT a grounds for ending a tenancy. However, Tenancy Services encourages tenants to advise their landlord in case the landlord is required to for example, undertake urgent repairs at the property during the time the tenant is self-isolating.

Fixed-term tenancies

If a fixed-term tenancy ends during the Level 4 lockdown period, it will automatically become a periodic tenancy with all the associated conditions.

Can vacant rental properties be let during the Level 4 lockdown period?

A landlord may tenant their vacant rental property during the lockdown period but must follow the Ministry of Health Guidelines for Alert System Level 4. This means no contact with people outside their own ‘bubble’ so he or she will have to work out how to achieve the let without having personal contact with prospective tenants.