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Government takes the lead

Government takes the lead

Pet bonds will become a reality for tenants later this year as new rules come into effect.

By: Sally Lindsay

21 April 2024

Tenants with pets will get greater choice when looking for a rental property when pet bonds are introduced later this year.

Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act will include:

  • Introducing a pet bond (set at a maximum of two weeks’ rent) that can be charged in addition to the existing bond
  • Making tenants liable for all pet damage to properties beyond fair wear and tear. This means a tenant is fully liable for any accidental or careless damage caused by pets, as well as any intentional damage
  • Requiring that tenants may only have a pet or pets with the consent of the landlord, who can withhold consent on reasonable grounds. 

“Pets are important members of many Kiwi families,” says Housing Minister Chris Bishop.

It’s estimated about 64 per cent of New Zealand households own at least one pet, and 59 per cent of people who don’t have a pet would like to get one, he says.

“Anyone who has ever tried to find a pet-friendly rental property will know how hard it is, so we’re going to make it easier,” adds Bishop.

Fixing a problem

Regulation Minister David Seymour says the policy will fix the problem of tenants being locked out of rental markets due to landlords being unwilling to take a risk on pets.

“There are tenants out there who would be more than happy to pay a little extra in order to live in their preferred home with their very good boy,” Seymour says. “More landlords will be willing to allow pets if they can protect themselves from some of the risks.

“This policy is also important for helping victims of domestic abuse move on with their lives. Often, people stay in relationships to look after pets and become stuck. Helping these people find rentals that are accepting of pets will allow them to move on safely and have a brighter future.”

The legislation delivers on a commitment in the National-ACT coalition agreement, intended to make it less difficult for tenants to have pets in rental properties.

“Supporting people to find a pet-friendly rental home is part of the government’s plan to create a well-functioning rental property market, which itself is part of the wider plan to solve New Zealand’s housing crisis,” Bishop says.

The government will introduce an Amendment Bill in May to make these changes, alongside other changes to the Residential Tenancies Act previously announced.