So you’re renting – are you protected by residential tenancy law? 


The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) sets out the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords. It doesn’t apply in private boarding or flatting situations, so it is important to know whether the RTA applies to you.

The RTA applies if:

  • you rent the whole house or apartment – by yourself or with flatmates - and your name is on the tenancy agreement as a tenant (read more about residential tenancy); or
  • you rent a room in a boarding house that can house at least six boarders at a time, and expect to stay there for at least 28 days (read more about boarding house tenancies). 

The RTA does not apply if:

When the RTA applies in your renting situation, you have greater rights as a renter  (but also greater obligations). This includes being able to use the Tenancy Tribunal if you have a dispute with your landlord.

If the RTA does not apply to your renting situation (or the dispute is with your flatmate rather than with your landlord) you have to turn to the Disputes Tribunal.

If you are renting but aren’t sure what your rights are, you can get help for free from:

  • Your local CAB - you can also read the tenancy information on our website.
  • Tenancy Services - their website has useful information including application forms, notices and agreement templates. 
  • Your local tenants’ association, if there is one near you.