Renting a house

The rental market is very varied, with a range of landlords from ‘Mum and Dad’ operators to professional investors and managers.

Fixed-term residential tenancy agreements are often short to medium term, and longer fixed-term contracts are relatively rare. Some landlords offer periodic tenancy agreements, which continue until either the tenant or landlord gives notice to end it. 

Prices vary throughout the country, with higher prices in the main centres.

Tenancy Services within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) gives advice and guidance about all aspects of rental tenancies in New Zealand. This includes a guide to the law which is also available in Chinese, Korean, Arabic, Tagalog, Hindi, Samoan and Tongan. A simplified version is also available. Tenancy Services also offers a phone helpline for information, as well as a mediation service if you have a dispute over a rental agreement.

Phone helpline | Tenancy Services

Renting and you - a guide to the law about renting | Tenancy Services

Short guide to good renting | Tenancy Services

The Law

Tenancy agreements

A tenancy agreement is a legal requirement for renting a property.

Where to look

You can find rental properties through letting agents such as real estate agents, or by contacting landlords directly. A popular privately operated website where you’ll find lots of rental properties advertised is TradeMe Property. Browsing around this website will give you an excellent overview of rents and the types of property available in the area you’re considering.

There’s high demand for good places, so it pays to make contact quickly.

Residential property | TradeMe


In New Zealand, rent is advertised as a weekly price, rather than monthly. 

As they do in every country, rents depend on the quality, location and size of the property. But to give you an indication, TradeMeProperty reported that across New Zealand, on their site in July 2015 the median rental being asked for a three-four bedroom home was NZ$460.

However there are wide variations. Auckland’s median was NZ$550 and for larger or more desirable homes, up to NZ$750.

Excluding Auckland, the national median dropped to NZ$395. 

When you first rent a place you’ll need to pay some rent in advance as well as a letting fee if you use an agent (letting fees are normally one week’s rent plus GST). A landlord can ask for a maximum of two weeks’ rent in advance.

You’ll also need to pay a bond, which can be the same as up to four weeks’ rent. So you need to be prepared to pay up to the equivalent of six weeks' rent upfront.

You’ll get the bond payment refunded at the end of your tenancy, provided you leave the place in good condition. To help avoid hassles at the end of a tenancy, bonds are lodged with and held by Tenancy Services, not the landlord. 

To find out more about market rent - what renters typically pay in specific areas - check the Tenancy Services website.

Rent, bonds and bills explained | Tenancy Services

Market Rent | Tenancy Services

Rent Price Index | Trade Me

Starting a tenancy

Find out what you need to know when you're starting a new tenancy.

Tenancy Services

Insurance, council taxes and costs

If you’re renting, the landlord is responsible for insuring the building. Tenants are responsible for getting cover for their own possessions and liability for any damage they or their guests may cause to the property.

Taxes imposed by the local council (in New Zealand they’re called rates) are paid by the landlord. Day-to-day running costs like electricity or gas are paid by you, the tenant.

Some homes have water meters, in which case tenants must also pay for the water they use.

Sharing accommodation or 'flatting'

Sharing a house or ‘flatting’ is common in New Zealand, especially if you’re younger and don’t have a family.

Flatting has the advantages of moving in with people who know the local area, and reducing the need to buy furniture and appliances. 

Another option for shared accommodation are boarding houses. They offer rooms with shared kitchens, bathrooms and living areas. 

Your Rights

Flatting disputes

Boarding houses are covered by the Residential Tenancies Act, but flatting arrangements aren’t. Disputes about flatting that can’t be resolved can be dealt with by the Disputes Tribunal.

Disputes Tribunal

Cost of flatting

Nationally, landlords were seeking around NZ$153 for a room in a 3-4 bedroom home in July 2015. Flatting costs vary widely, depending on the desirability of the property and the room, and the location. 

In some flats, everyone shares cooking duties and the costs of buying food. In others, everyone buys and prepares their own food. Other costs like electricity are shared. You should work out agreements about making payments, food, bills and notice periods before you move in. You may find it useful to have these agreements in writing and keep receipts for any payments you make. 

Finding a flat

People looking for new flatmates - ‘flatties’ - usually advertise on TradeMe in the ‘Flatmates wanted’ section. Boarding house vacancies are also advertised there.

You’ll find advice about flat sharing agreements and other matters to consider when sharing accommodation on the Tenancy Services website.

Flatmates wanted | TradeMe

Flatting 101 | Tenancy Services

Interested in coming to New Zealand?

Register with us and you’ll receive great info on jobs and upcoming events.


Is there anything wrong with this page?

Page last updated: 10/09/2018

Help us improve New Zealand Now

Your feedback is very important in helping us improve the New Zealand Now website. Please don’t include any personal or financial information.