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Renting E-H


Image indicating new information Premises must not be rented unless there is an adequate source of electricity.

Note: if the rental agreement is signed, extended or renewed:

  • before 1 August 2016 the minimum standard does not apply until 1 August 2018;
  • after 1 August 2016 the minimum standard applies immediately.

Family violence orders

  • When a court makes a Family Violence Order against a tenant, the court may also make an order ending their residential tenancy agreement, and making a new agreement on behalf of a person affected by the violence. The new agreement will continue on the same terms as the old agreement.
  • A Family Violence Order or a Police Family Violence order permits a tenant to alter or remove any lock or security device without the consent of the property owner or the order of a court. It is recommended that you advise the property owner/agent as soon as practicable.

Fixtures, additions, alterations

  • A tenant should not add any fixtures or make any alterations to a property without the written permission of the owner. To avoid any miscommunication between the parties, the request should describe exactly what can or cannot be done to the property.  This is to ensure both parties are clear on what changes can be made.
  • If a tenant makes alterations, additions or adds fixtures to a property without written permission, a property owner can request that the tenant return the property to its original condition.
  • The property owner may allow the tenant to repair the damage or request compensation for reasonable costs to return the property to its original condition.

Fuses, light globes, light tubes, tapwashers

  • The owner is responsible for tap washers and inaccessible light globes and light tubes.
  • A tenant is responsible for repairing or replacing electrical fuses, and accessible light globes and light tubes that fail during a tenancy, for their own use and enjoyment. However a property owner may prefer to arrange for repairs/replacement if they believe that the tenant cannot adequately do this themselves.
  • A tenant is liable for the cost of replacement bulbs at the end of the tenancy only if the owner shows:
    • the tenant caused the bulbs to fail; and
    • the failure was beyond reasonable wear and tear.
  • If light bulbs were present at the beginning of the tenancy, they should be present at the end.

Gardening - lawns, trees, shrubs, hedges

  • A tenant must maintain the garden and lawn during the tenancy to the same standard that existed when they first moved in.
  • This means that a tenant is responsible for general weeding and lawn mowing.  This does not include pruning or any specialist treatment of the garden that would normally require an expert gardener. A tenant is not required to maintain a garden to a professional standard.
  • A term in the tenancy agreement that creates an obligation on the tenant that is more than an obligation for normal maintenance could be in conflict with the Residential Tenancy Act 1997.


  • Cleaning and maintaining gutters is the responsibility of the property owner.
  • If a tenant is aware that guttering is blocked or leaking, they should let the property owner know as soon as possible. This is a general repair and the property owner has 28 days to fix the problem.


If an existing heater stops working the property owner is obliged to repair or replace the heater with one of similar capacity. Heating is an essential service.  If the heating stops working it is an urgent repair.

Image indicating new information The minimum standard requires heating is installed in the main living area of the premise and may be:

  • a fixed electric or gas heater;
  • a heat pump;
  • a wood heater.

Open fireplaces

For environmental and safety reason, an open fireplace does not count as adequate heating. It is possible to continue to rent a property with an open fireplace.  However it is not enough for this to be the only form of heating available unless the Residential Tenancy Commissioner grants an exemption.

Note: if the rental agreement is signed, extended or renewed:

  • before 1 August 2016 the minimum standard does not apply until 1 August 2018;
  • after 1 August 2016 the minimum standard applies immediately.