COVID-19: New tenancy terminations restrictions during Alert Level 4.

2 October 2021

Photo by Leroy de Thierry on Unsplash

Legislation has been drafted to restrict tenancy terminations during Alert Level 4.

The Government is proposing new measures under urgency to support both residential and commercial tenants impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

Commercial tenancies

To help commercial tenants struggling to make rent payments when their sales are hit by forced closures during escalated alert levels, amendments to the Property Law Act are proposed to allow a clause inserted into commercial lease requiring "fair proportion" of rent to be paid instead. It would be on the landlord and tenants to agree on what is considered "fair". Mediation is proposed to deal with disputes.

Once the law is passed, the clause will take effect from 28 September 2021.

Residential tenancies

Moreover, amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act are proposed to protect residential tenants.

The legislation will allow restrictions against residential tenancy terminations to be turned on and off by Ministerial order in response to Alert Level 4.

This law change is designed to bring clarity and certainty to both landlords and tenants in unusual but difficult COVID-19 conditions.

  • Similarly to the rule introduced in 2020, landlords would not be able to terminate tenancies if the restrictions are turned on by Ministerial order (except in limited circumstances).
  • Existing ending tenancy notices will not be cancelled but postponed until after the restrictions lift. The notice period will continue to run while restrictions are in place.
  • Landlords will still be able to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to terminate a tenancy for significant anti-social behaviour or substantial damage.
  • Rent increase freeze is NOT considered as part of the bill.

Submission for feedback will be opened soon.

In December 2021 NZ moved away from the alert level system to the COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights). Follow this link to the summary of real estate activities permitted under various traffic light settings

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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