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Can tenants under 18 legally enter into a tenancy agreement?

20 August 2018

Photo: Old House by GPS 56

If you’re thinking of renting your property to tenants who are under 18 years of age, make sure you consider the following legal implications.

Tenancy agreements with tenants who are under 18 years old and not married are subject to the Minors Contracts Act and not enforceable under the Act.

Exemption: If tenants are 16 or 17 years old, have been married or been in a civil union, they can be held to the agreement.

Upon signing a tenancy agreement with under 18 tenants, to confirm it is a legally binding document, the tenants need seek approval from the Tenancy Tribunal or a District Court within 10 working days of signing it. A mediator will be assigned to the case, go through the agreement with both tenants and the landlord to make sure it’s understood by all parties and to confirm it is fair and reasonable. The mediator can then write a mediated order confirming that the tenants are to be held to the agreement as if they were 18 years of age at the time of signing it.

If you’re considering applicants under 18 years old as your tenants, make sure that the tenancy agreement is conditional upon being ratified by the Tenancy Tribunal or a District Court by a specified date. This specified date needs to be before the tenancy start date. The agreement should also mention that it is void unless ratified by that date.

To get more information and find out more on this topic, please contact the Tenancy Services or phone the Tenancy Tribunal on 0800 836 262.

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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