Residential Tenancy Agreement

The terms of the residential tenancy agreement set out the tenant’s and landlord’s rights and obligations. Tenancy agreements are usually written in a standard form but can also be oral (e.g. a conversation with the landlord), or partly written–partly oral. All agreements must follow the Residential Tenancies Act 2010. If the landlord does not ensure that the agreement is in writing at the start of the agreement, then during the first 6 months of the tenancy they cannot increase the rent and cannot end the tenancy without grounds.

There are two types of tenancy agreement:

  • fixed term – for a specified period of time (e.g. 6 months)
  • periodic – where the fixed term has expired or no fixed term is specified.

Additional terms

Additional terms may be included in the standard tenancy agreement if:

  • both you and the landlord agree to them
  • they do not conflict with the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 or any other laws
  • they do not conflict with the terms of the standard agreement.

If you are unsure about an additional term, get advice from your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service or apply to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT) for an order that the term is void.

Tenancy agreements in share housing

If you rent part of the premises from another tenant, it is in your interest to have a written tenancy agreement with them. See Transfer and Subletting for a sample agreement.