If you’re the landlord or tenant of a property that’s been damaged by the recent flooding and slips, you’re probably wondering where this leaves your tenancy agreement or commercial lease.

In this article, we’ve put together some general information on your rights and responsibilities.

Residential properties that are uninhabitable due to damage

If a residential property has been damaged due to the flooding or slips and is completely uninhabitable, the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 states that rent must be reduced and either the landlord or tenant can give written notice to terminate the tenancy.

Landlords need to give at least seven days’ notice to terminate the tenancy, while tenants only need to give two days’ notice.

Residential properties that are partially uninhabitable due to damage

If a residential property has been damaged and some of the property is uninhabitable, rent must be reduced accordingly and either the landlord or tenant can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for an order terminating the tenancy if required.

The Tenancy Tribunal will generally do so if it believes it would be unreasonable to require the landlord to repair the property or to require the tenant to continue with the tenancy (even at a reduced rent).

Commercial properties that have been damaged

If a commercial property has been damaged, the lease agreement will dictate the recommended course of action.

Under the standard and current form of commercial lease agreements, the lease is immediately terminated if the property has been completely destroyed and is unusable.

In the event that a landlord decides demolition or reconstruction is necessary, they will generally need to give their tenant at least three months’ notice, with reduced rent and outgoings payable by the tenant until the termination date.

If a commercial property has been partially destroyed but the premises aren’t ‘untenantable,’ the rent and outgoings are usually reduced accordingly until repairs are complete.

The above circumstances are general and are the standard remedial actions under the current ADLS lease agreement.  However, leases can be bespoke in nature and each lease will dictate its own process. We can review your lease to determine what course of action you, as a landlord or tenant, can take if you’ve been affected by the recent flooding.

Where to seek advice

If you need legal advice in relation to property damage caused by the recent extreme weather, please get in touch with our team on enquiries@armstrongmurray.co.nz or 09 489 9102.


This article is brief and general in nature. You should not treat it as legal advice and should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this post. Armstrong Murray accepts no liability for losses suffered by any person or organisation who may rely directly or indirectly on this post.