When your tenant moves in, you can ask them for bond money up to the equivalent of 4 weeks’ rent.
You don’t have to ask for a bond, but this money is one of the protections you are entitled to under the law. If things go wrong later – your tenant doesn’t pay their rent or causes damage to your property – you can ask to keep some or all of this money to cover your costs. (If your claim is greater than the bond, a tenant may be ordered to pay the extra as well.)
You and your tenant should complete and sign an official Bond lodgement form.
You must give the tenant a receipt for any bond money paid, and then send the bond money to the Department of Building and Housing, along with the Bond lodgement form, within 23 working days of receiving it.
In the case of a boarding house tenancy, a boarding house landlord is not required to lodge the bond with the Department of Building and Housing if the bond is the equivalent to one weeks’ rent or less.
When you send us the bond money:
- complete the cheque carefully. We will not be able to lodge the bond if the cheque has not been made out correctly. Make the cheque payable to The Department of Building and Housing and enclose the Bond lodgement form with your cheque. Please check every section of the form is filled in completely and clearly to prevent delays when you apply for a refund give an address for service for both the landlord and tenant. Without this, we may not be able to process the bond. (An address for service is an address in New Zealand where notices and other documents relating to the tenancy will be accepted by you or on your behalf, even after the tenancy has ended.)
- check the Bond lodgement form is signed by both landlord and tenant. When an application is made for a bond refund, the signatures on the bond refund form are checked against those on the Bond lodgement form, so the Department of Building and Housing needs to hold a copy of the signature of anyone likely to sign the bond refund form.
- If you are paying the bond by instalments, a bond number will be printed on the acknowledgement of your first payment. Please make sure that you quote this bond number on each Bond lodgement form that you use for later instalments or part payments. If you don’t do this, the bond may be filed under several different numbers, resulting in a delay in the bond refund.
When the Department of Building and Housing receives a bond, we send the landlord and the tenant an acknowledgement letter and a Bond refund form. The Department of Building and Housing holds the bond money until the tenancy ends, when either the tenant or landlord may apply for it to be refunded. Find out more about Bond refunds.
Landlord leaving the country for 21 consecutive days
If the landlord is going out of New Zealand for more than 21 consecutive days they must appoint an agent in New Zealand. The landlord must also advise the tenant (including the Department of Building and Housing if a bond is held) of the agent’s details.
Want to know more?
Free advice and information on bonds is available – call freephone 0800 737 666 or download our information sheet All about tenancy bonds which explains what a bond is, how to lodge it, how to transfer it, and how to get a bond refund.