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What is a periodic tenancy?

Photo: Akaroa New Zealand by Bernard Spragg NZ

A periodic tenancy has no set end date and continues until either the landlord or tenant gives written notice to end the tenancy. A fixed term tenancy is where the landlord and tenant agree that the tenancy will only last for a set period of time, e.g. one year. If a fixed term expires but neither the landlord or tenant give notice, the tenancy then becomes periodic.

Is my tenancy fixed-term or periodic?

If your tenancy agreement lists a set period that the tenancy will continue for, then it is a fixed-term tenancy.

Example: “This tenancy is for a fixed term, ending on the 12th day of November 2019”
Example: “Start date of tenancy: 12 November 2018. End date: 12 November 2019”
Example: “This tenancy is for a fixed term of one year, commencing 12 November 2018”

If your tenancy does not have a set period or term, then it is a periodic tenancy. A periodic tenancy has no pre-agreed end date and continues indefinitely week-to-week or fortnight-to-fortnight, depending on whether rent is paid weekly or fortnightly.

When does a fixed-term tenancy become a periodic tenancy?

A fixed-term tenancy becomes a periodic tenancy if the tenancy continues after the end of the fixed term without notice being given by either the landlord or tenant.

If this occurs, the landlord and tenant remain bound by the terms of the original agreement, including the terms regarding rent.

Example: Jessica (landlord) and Peter (tenant) have a fixed-term agreement for one year from 12th November 2018 to 12th November 2019. After 12th November 2019, Peter continues to live at the property and continues to pay rent. Jessica does not object to this. Neither Jessica or Peter give notice to end the tenancy. This means that the tenancy will become periodic from 12th November 2019 onwards.

Exception: If your tenancy is for a fixed term of 90 days or less, then it will not become a periodic tenancy at the end of the fixed-term unless the landlord and tenant have agreed to continue the tenancy.

Different Notice Periods: fixed-term vs periodic tenancy

The most important difference between a fixed-term and periodic tenancy is the correct notice periods for ending the tenancy.

To end a fixed-term tenancy at the end of the fixed-term

  • Landlord giving notice - must give between 21 and 90 days written notice that the tenancy will end at the expiry of the fixed term.
  • Tenant giving notice - must give between 21 and 90 days written notice that the tenancy will end at the expiry of the fixed term.

To end a periodic tenancy

  • Landlord giving notice - must give at least 90 days written notice in most circumstances.
  • Tenant giving notice - must give at least 21 days written notice.

Further reading

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. myRent.co.nz does not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.

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