Blog » Rules around sub-letting

Rules around sub-letting

Alide Elkink  |  June 25, 2018

Occasionally a tenant may have a valid reason to sub-let their rental property. So what are the rules around subletting?


Section 44 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA) allows for a clause to be included in a tenancy agreement that prohibits a tenant from sub-letting a tenancy. If such a clause is not included in the tenancy agreement, a tenant may sub-let but must obtain written permission from the landlord and the sub-let must comply with any conditions required by the landlord.

The tenant becomes a sub-landlord

When a tenant sub-lets, they become a sub-landlord and if they wish to be covered by the RTA, they must have a signed tenancy agreement with the sub-tenant. When this occurs, both tenant and sub-tenant are subject to all the same rules as a standard tenancy.

(Note that flatting is not a sub-letting situation. For more information on flatting, see the Tenancy Services article on Flatting.)

Airbnb is sub-letting

A recent Tenancy Tribunal ruling saw a Wellington landlord awarded the profits that a tenant had earned from subletting their rental property on Airbnb. The apartment, which had been sub-let at least 54 times in 6 months without landlord approval, earned almost $12,500, an amount that was subsequently awarded to the landlord in addition to a number of other costs. For more information, read the article in Landlords.

While the RTA does not specifically allow for landlords to recover profits earned by a tenant, this ruling has set a precedent for the future.

We prohibit sub-letting

At Nightingales, our tenancy agreements contain a clause prohibiting sub-letting. In addition, we require all tenants to sign the tenancy agreement so we can keep track of who is living in your rental property.

Talk to us

If you have any questions about this subject or any of the other Nightingale Properties blogs, please feel free to call me on 029 200 3950 or email us at