RSS Feed

Am I running a boarding house?

Thursday, January 24, 2019


This week's question comes from Sue (paraphrased): 

I am renting out a property that has six bedrooms. For the purpose of the Residential Tenancies Act, is it irrefutably a boarding house or can it be a normal residential rental?

Our response: 

To answer this question, we first look at the definitions of both boarding house and boarding house tenancy per the Residential Tenancies Act (the RTA):

Section 66B defines a boarding house as residential premises that '[contain] 1 or more boarding rooms along with facilities for communal use by the tenants of the boarding house; and occupied, or intended by the landlord to be occupied, by at least 6 tenants at a time. A boarding house tenancy 'means a residential tenancy in a boarding house that is intended to, or that does in fact, last for 28 days or more; and under which the tenant is granted exclusive rights to occupy particular sleeping quarters in the boarding house, and has the right to the shared use of the facilities of the boarding house.'

To us, the key components of a boarding house tenancy are thus: 

  1. That the property has at least one boarding room; 
  2. That the property capable of or intended (by the landlord) to be occupied by 6 or more tenants at a time;
  3. That all tenancies are intended to be longer than 28 days; and
  4. That all tenants have exclusive rights to occupy their own boarding room (or, put in a more straightforward manner, that tenants do not have the right to enter boarding rooms that are not their own). 
The prima facie presumption for a house with six or more bedrooms is that it is a boarding house offering boarding house tenancies. The rebuttal comes from a closer examination of the landlord's intent. For example, if the intention is the rent a big house out to a big family then surely that would put the property outside of the definition of a boarding house (as component #4 simply isn't there in this situation). Similarly, if you rent out a three-bedroom house to three couples (6 people) then that would likely result in three boarding house tenancies (satisfying all four components).

Your intention in these situations is demonstrated through the marketing of the rental. Take the three-bedroom example from above, if the property is advertised as three bedrooms that are suitable for couples and singles then that is saying to a bystander that the property is intended to be housing 6 or more tenants at a time resulting in the conclusion that it is to be rented out as a boarding house. If, however, it is advertised having three single rooms that would accommodate a maximum of three people then that would make the house a standard rental. 

Tenancy Services offers an excellent summary of boarding houses on its website for those who are interested in learning more about boarding houses. We also encourage landlords to use the 0800 TENANCY hotline to have specific boarding house questions answered. 

Do you have any tenancy related questions? Write to us at admin@apia.org.nz or hit us up on our social channels here and here


Recent Posts


ring-fencing gluckman report rta bad tenant HHS clnz renovation reserve bank Sponsored post sublease property water bill buyer's agent subdivision boarding house privacy tenancy tribunal wins winz rental wof insulation market maintenance How to short-term rental CCC banking Gluckman warm up new zealand government asbestos shower dome debt enforcement RTAA 2019 Case study investment strategy negotiation legal covid-19 rent increase Level 4 recycling equity principal and interest interest rates structure smoke alarm inspection market rent minor dwelling rental market ird productivity trademe bond form advice Guest blog rent finance CoreLogic tenancy issues beginner investor ask an expert DTI sale and purchas first home buying building skill shortage buying rules LIM Editor's Choice business television letting fee auckland p lab rent arrears property maintenance RBNZ positive cash flow auckland council financial advisers act partners Investor story landlord housing affordability HSWA rta reform twg report bond investor worksafe trust nzpif off the plan trespass warren buffett cash-flow income Tribunal case study Must knows letting interest only housing bubble equity Standards New Zealand personal growth tenancy services anz property value heater return Investment tip Holler sale and purchase robert kiyosaki damage tenant property cycle initio house prices cgt airbnb data security Q&A development heating termination capital gain speculator relationship ocr election 2017 Kris Pedersen Mortgages and Insurance wealth creation meth HHGA khh scotney williams fixed-term tenancy mortgage Question and answer cat buying Jeff Bezos Property (Relationships) Act TCIT meth contamination Landlording holiday house unitary plan yield tax extractor fan mindset property management watercare parry v inglis Must know management education insurance Market report ventilation lvr


Introducing Our Partners
Principal Sponsor - Kris Pedersen Mortgages & Insurance logo Gold Sponsor - Barfoot & Thompson logo Gold Sponsor - CoreLogic logo Property Apprentice logo Keith Hay Homes logo The Insulation Warehouse logo The Renovation Team logo The New Zealand Property Investors' Federation logo
09 360 2376

The Tenancy Practice Service and TPS Credit Control work closely with the Auckland Property Investors' Association. Our vision of bringing helpful resources, documents and high quality services to Auckland Property Investors and Property Managers is shared by APIA, so its a partnership that works well. 

The Auckland Property Investors' Association is a great organisation for those who want access to advice and information from a range of industry experts and partners. 

Mathieu Holt- Managing Director, The Tenancy Practice Service & TPS Credit Control
Through the Association I found the channels and methods to fund the purchase of property I never dreamed about. Grant Brown

All round it has been one of those things Neil and I felt was really worthwhile belonging to. We have learned so much it has just built our confidence in what we are doing.

Janice Bieleski
I read two articles in the monthly magazine that saved me over $5,000. That is my membership fee for the next 26 years and I am sure I will learn a whole lot more! John Duncan
Fantastic organisation. The networking opportunities are brilliant and provide us with information and opportunities that cannot be obtained anywhere else. We learn something new at every meeting and we've been in this game for nearly 20 years. Pauline and Gyanen Kumar

I find the information obtained from various APIA meetings very useful in guiding my own property investment and rental management.  I also enjoy the networking opportunities with like-minded investors.  I am inspired by other investors’ success and find the more experiences and knowledge that I share with others, the more confident I become.  

Thanks to all APIA event organizers and administrators for your brilliant work. 

Stella Shao

I like talking to people and learning from their experience because it gives me the confidence to invest well. I think it is a knowledge thing. I now know I am doing things the right way.

Stephen Weatherall

My APIA membership has become a total success.

Every time I attend a monthly or regional meeting I come away with so many useful and positive tips that have added value to my property investments and management.

Not only that, the website is a great place for practical advice and useful information. It has now evolved into an important resource for my business.

Talk about value for money! The discounts I have been getting at Bunnings when I present my APIA membership card have more than paid for my annual subscription!

Tim Duffett, Plan A Investments Limited