Securing a private rental

If your situation, or a barrier you face, is making it hard to find a landlord who will offer you a private rental house, we may be able to help.

We can give you a letter of assurance to show to landlords when you’re looking for a place. The letter assures landlords that if they offer you a place and your tenancy lasts less than a year, we’ll help pay costs at the end that your bond won’t cover. This is called 'Tenancy costs cover'.

  • Who can get it

    You may be able to get tenancy costs cover if you:

    • are finding it hard to get private housing due to a barrier, like discrimination
    • have a better chance of securing a private house with this help
    • pay a bond to your landlord
    • have your tenancy end within 12 months (if you stay in the house for longer than 12 months, you won’t qualify for this help)
    • have costs at the end of your tenancy that your bond won’t cover.

    The landlord must:

    • require a bond of up to 4 weeks
    • lodge the bond with Tenancy Services
    • use a written tenancy agreement under the Residential Tenancies Act.

    We’ll also take into account other factors, such as:

    • your situation
    • if this is the best help for you
    • what other help is available to you
    • if this payment would help you move into private housing.

    Residency

    You also need to meet one of these residency criteria:

    • you're a New Zealand citizen
    • you have a resident visa or permanent resident visa and have lived in NZ continuously for at least 2 years since getting it
    • you're recognised as a refugee by Immigration New Zealand
    • you're recognised as a protected person by Immigration New Zealand
    • you're getting a main benefit from us (eg, Jobseeker Support), or
    • you fit into one of these categories:
      • you have a Christchurch Response Visa
      • you get Christchurch Mosque Attack Assistance, or
      • you get a Special Needs Grant because you came to New Zealand on a temporary visa to be with your NZ partner and your relationship ended due to domestic violence.
  • What you can get

    We can pay up to 4 weeks of rent to help with costs that might come up at the end of your tenancy, such as rent arrears or property damage.

    You’ll need to pay this money back.

  • How to apply

    You need to apply while you’re looking for a house.

    Step 1 - Call us

    Call us on 0800 559 009

    If you get NZ Super or Veteran's Pension, call Senior Services on 0800 552 002

    Step 2 - Go to an appointment

    We’ll book you an appointment to come in and see us.

    At your appointment, we’ll check if you qualify for Tenancy Costs Cover and give you an application form to fill out.

    If your application’s approved, we’ll give you a letter of assurance to give to landlords while you’re looking for a private house. This will explain what your tenancy costs cover is and what costs it could help pay for at the end of your tenancy.

    The letter is valid for 3 months. If you don’t find a house within 3 months, the letter will expire. We may be able to issue you a new letter – contact Work and Income on 0800 559 009 to talk about this.

    Step 3 - Get landlord to sign letter of assurance once you find a house

    If you get accepted into a private house, you need to get your landlord to sign the letter of assurance.

    You also need to gather these documents:

    • signed letter of assurance
    • bond receipt from the landlord
    • tenancy agreement.

    You can drop the letter and documents off to your local Work and Income service centre or post them to us.

    We’ll also send a copy of the letter to your landlord for their records.

    Step 4 - Lodge a claim at the end of your tenancy

    If your tenancy ends within 12 months, and you have costs that your bond won’t cover, you or your landlord can lodge a claim. If you stay in the house for longer than 12 months, you won’t be able to claim.

    The claim needs to be lodged within 3 months after your tenancy ends.

    The claim can be lodged by dropping off one of the following documents to your local Work and Income service centre, or posting it to us:

    • Tenancy agreement
    • Mediator’s Order, or
    • Tenancy Tribunal Order form.