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Can landlords advertise their property for a fixed-term term and agree for it not to become periodic upon expiry?

22 February 2022

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

This is a very common situation. A landlord has a place that they want to fill for long-ish fixed-term but want to make sure the fixed-term tenancy doesn't become periodic upon expiry as they may want to use it themselves or as an Airbnb during a busy period. The question is always can this be done and how to go about it.

The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 defines a short-term tenancy as a fixed term of no more than 90 days (whether or not terminable by notice). It can't be extended or renewed or used as a trial for ascertaining the desirability of tenants before signing them up for a longer term. Short-term tenancies have an end date and do not automatically become periodic upon expiry.

Any tenancy with a specified end date that goes for longer than 90 days will be defined as a fixed-term tenancy. Once a fixed-term ends, the tenancy will automatically become periodic unless the landlord or tenant gives the correct notice.

As a landlord, you can't contract out of the RTA, so you can't advertise the property for a term that contradicts the Act.

By negating the rollover into a periodic tenancy, you seek to contract out of the RTA.

You also shouldn't add clauses to the agreement that are outside the law, which make tenants sign away their rights. These conditions will be deemed unenforceable. If tenants are to dispute, the Tenancy Tribunal will set aside these clauses and can choose to award exemplary damages and/or fines for contradicting the RTA.

You can still terminate the fixed-term tenancy upon expiry as long as you have a good reason to do so. These include selling property as vacant possession, moving into the property, planning comprehensive renovations, and others.

A Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team (TCIT) is actively investigating landlords for breaches, so it's essential to familiarise yourself with the RTA to stay compliant and not unintentionally breach the law.

The information contained in this article is exclusively for promotional purposes. It does not in any way constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as the basis for any legal action or contractual dealings. The information is not and does not attempt to be, a comprehensive account of the relevant law in New Zealand. If you require legal advice, you should seek independent legal counsel. does not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.

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