Section 40 - Tenant's Responsibilities

It is important that tenants have at least a basic understanding of their responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA), particularly as breaching the Act can incur financial penalties and/or termination of the tenancy. Section 40 Tenant’s Responsibilities:

(1) The tenant shall—

(a) pay the rent as and when it is due and payable under the tenancy agreement; and
(b) ensure that the premises are occupied principally for residential purposes; and
(c) keep the premises reasonably clean and reasonably tidy; and
(i) comply with all requirements in respect of smoke alarms imposed on the tenant by regulations made under section 138A; and
(d) notify the landlord, as soon as possible after discovery, of any damage to the premises, or of the need for any repairs; and
(e) on the termination of the tenancy,—
(i) quit the premises; and
(ii) remove all his or her goods from the premises;
(iii) leave the premises in a reasonably clean and reasonably tidy condition, and remove or arrange for the removal from the premises of all rubbish;
(iv) return to the landlord all keys, and security or pass cards or other such devices, provided by the landlord for the use of the tenant; and
(v) leave in or at the premises all other chattels provided by the landlord for the use of the tenant.

(2) The tenant shall not—

(a) intentionally or carelessly damage, or permit any other person to damage, the premises; or
(i) cause or permit any interference with, or render inoperative, any means of escape from fire within the meaning of the Building Act 2004;
(b) use the premises, or permit the premises to be used, for any unlawful purpose; or

(c) cause or permit any interference with the reasonable peace, comfort, or privacy of any of the landlord’s other tenants in the use of the premises occupied by those other tenants, or with the reasonable peace, comfort, or privacy of any other person residing in the neighbourhood.

(3) Where the tenancy agreement specifies a maximum number of persons that may ordinarily reside in the premises during the tenancy, the tenant shall ensure that no more than that number ordinarily reside in the premises at any time during the tenancy.

Note that a breach of some of the responsibilities above are considered unlawful acts and exemplary damages, payable to the landlord, can be awarded by the Tenancy Tribunal. For example, interfering with smoke alarms is an Unlawful Act and the maximum exemplary damages that can be awarded against the tenant is $4,000.