Many legal minds making NZ LAW work

We are an association of independent legal practices, proactively sharing ideas and expertise for the benefit of our clients.

Holiday houses

Published: 18th November 2020

Author: Tanya Surrey, Mactodd

Published in: Fineprint

Rules for both owners and renters
With New Zealand’s borders closed and overseas travel restricted for the foreseeable future, many Kiwis will be looking to rent a holiday home for the traditional summer holiday this year.

There are plenty of options on sites such as Bookabach, Holiday Houses and Airbnb as well as renting a holiday house privately. Whether you own a holiday home and are looking for some extra income, or you want to rent a place for the whānau Christmas, there are a few things to remember.

Property owners
Houses should be presented in a clean and tidy way.

Paying the rent: The expectations about payment arrangements need to be clear from the outset. Property owners can ask for a deposit for a holiday house rental but, to avoid confusion, it’s im-portant to be clear about this requirement in the fine print in any agreement. In some cases, the property owner may require that the full cost may be retained if the booking is cancelled. In other situations, however, a partial refund could be made to the renter depending on the timing of the cancellation (for example a 50% refund could be given if the booking is cancelled not less than two weeks prior to the booking). Any refund arrangements not covered by the agreement are made at the discretion of the property owner. It is, however, advisable to make sure that any arrangements are fair and reasonable.

Health and safety: Property owners are generally subject to the duties and obligations in the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. Under the Act, a host renting rooms could be prosecuted if he or she is negligent, resulting in a guest being injured (or even killed) as a result of that negligence. Although insurance cover may help with an owner’s liability, the legislation makes it illegal to insure against fines imposed by the courts. If you are unsure about your obligations under the Act, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Hazards: Property owners should ensure the house and garden are free of any hazards that could cause an accident or injury, as well as being free of pests and vermin.

Residential Tenancies Act 1986: As a general rule, this legislation does not apply where the house is let for the tenant’s holiday purposes. However, the question may be asked — how long is a holiday? If the Residential Tenancies Act does apply, both owner and the holidaymaker (or tenant) must comply with the duties and obligations set out in the legislation. With the country experiencing a shortage of rental accommodation in some areas, those owning holiday homes may encounter those wishing to rent a holiday house for the longer term. This arrangement would then become a formal tenancy subject to the requirements of the Residential Tenancies Act.

GST and income tax: If the gross rental income is more than $60,000 over a 12-month period, property owners must be registered for GST. Property owners will also have to declare any income from a holiday house in their annual tax return.

Local authority: Depending where you are in the country, you may also need to register with the local authority and, in some cases, obtain resource consent. Do check with the relevant local authority on its specific requirements for the area in which the holiday house is located.

Insurance: It’s important to ensure you have the right type of insurance policy in place for a holiday house rental scenario, and that the insurer is notified that the property is being tenanted.

Renters
General: If you’re renting a house for the holidays, it’s important to read the owner’s terms for rental before you make a booking. Payment arrangements: Owners can usually choose to require full payment, or just a deposit, to be paid at the time of booking. If only a deposit is charged initially, full payment is often required 10 days before the rental begins.

The rules can vary but if you cancel at short notice, you are likely to be liable for some (or all) of the rental fee.

Damage to the property: You will be liable for damage caused by you or any other guests staying with you, including someone visiting the property.

No sub-letting: People renting holiday houses cannot sublet and/or let extra rooms to third parties. In a recent decision , the Tenancy Tribunal ordered Mr Kennedy to pay $12,500 to the landlord for various things including cleaning, property damage and sub-letting the property on Airbnb without the landlord’s permission.

While the Kennedy case related to a residential tenancy, a similar approach and monetary penalty could potentially be applied in any tribunal dealing with a holiday house situation.

Online feedback
Holiday house websites have feedback platforms. Any difficult homeowner or troublesome renters may find themselves the subject of a damaging review that would not help their future chances of renting out their house or making a booking.

It is important to be clear on your obligations before you pack the car and surfboards to away for Christmas. No one wants to start the New Year with a legal dispute on the horizon. 

Related Articles

  • Auckland
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Canterbury
  • Coromandel
  • Gisborne
  • Hawke's Bay
  • Kapiti Coast
  • Manawatu - Wanganui
  • Marlborough
  • Nelson
  • Northland
  • Otago
  • Southland
  • Taranaki
  • Waikato
  • Wairarapa
  • Wellington
  • West Coast

DG Law

David Graham and his secretary started out in a small office in Panmure in 1984.  We now have a large team covering a broad range of the law.

Our vision is to provide a prompt, efficient and effective solution to our clients' legal needs.  Our standard of work is high and clients can be confident they will receive the following when dealing with the DG Law team:

  • Care
  • Courtesy 
  • Prompt Communication 
  • Honesty, and 
  • Trust

Region: Auckland

Phone: 09 574 5316

Jackson Reeves Lawyers

Jackson Reeves is a long established law firm that has been providing quality legal services in Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty region for over 60 years. We have proven expertise in business and personal law and deliver high calibre legal advice and solutions that work for you.

Choosing a law firm is not always an easy decision but you can take comfort in the knowledge that Jackson Reeves take a client focussed approach, providing specialist and practical legal services. Old fashioned virtues, like integrity, transparency and trust are of importance to us and we value quality, relationships and diversity.

Region: Bay of Plenty

Phone: 07 578 2129

RSM Law

RSM Law is considered one of the most client focused law firms in South Canterbury. Established in 1883, the firm has played an integral part in the growth and development of South Canterbury, and beyond.

RSM Law's expertise covers all areas of the law, with particular emphasis on business law (including company law, small business and compliance); property law (rural and commercial property, and home buying and selling); litigation; resource management issues,(Carbon Accounting and Emissions Trading) estate planning, wills and trusts; infrastructure and syndication; and personal legal services.

Region: Canterbury

Phone: 03 687 9777

Purnell Lawyers

There is nothing as inevitable as change. Since opening for business early last century, we at Purnell Lawyers have seen many changes both in name and in the people who have made up the members of our team. We have been privileged to have served the public throughout all of these times. 

We are confident that we will continue to bring top quality legal services to our clients well into the future.

Region: Coromandel

Phone: 07 868 8680

Woodward Chrisp

At Woodward Chrisp we strive to meet the needs of our clients by providing a wide range of high quality legal services within a supportive and collaborative environment.

Woodward Chrisp is the amalgamation of two long established Gisborne legal firms: Woodward Iles & Co and Chrisp and Chrisp. Today’s partners are Ross Revington, Adam Simperingham, Jeff Allen and Ellie FitzGerald.

Region: Gisborne

Phone: 06 869 0900

NZ LAW Limited

NZ LAW Limited is an association of independent legal practices with member firms located throughout New Zealand. There are currently 54 member firms practising in a wide range of legal disciplines ranging from business law, home buying and selling, immigration law and intellectual property to aviation law and viticulture.

The group was established in 1992 when about five law firms met in Auckland to find a way to benefit their clients by replicating the conviviality and the sharing of ideas and expertise that occurs in larger law firms, but still be able to retain client confidentiality and their own independence.

Region: Hawke's Bay

Phone: 06 835 5299

BMC Lawyers

BMC lawyers has built a reputation for providing quality service and delivering real results. Our strength is our broad-ranging legal experience that gives us the ability to match clients with the right mix of legal skills for their particular needs.

Our legal professionals are passionate about what they do and work alongside a talented team of support and administration staff to make a real positive difference to our clients.”

Region: Kapiti Coast

Phone: 04 296 1105

Innes Dean Tararua Law

Our history in the Manawatu and Tararua Districts dates back to 1884. With offices in Palmerston North and Pahiatua our firm stands on a long tradition of high standards and sound legal advice.

Our size means that every one of our clients are dealt with on a professional, yet personal basis.

Region: Manawatu - Wanganui

Phone: 06 358 6075

Wain & Naysmith

Based in Blenheim, Wain & Naysmith Lawyers is a full service law firm, and a powerhouse for property, family and business law.

We pride ourselves in providing clear and cost effective legal solutions and practical advice for you, your family and your business.

Region: Marlborough

Phone: 03 520 6103

Knapps Lawyers

As a firm, we promise to look after you and treat you in a manner that we would expect to be treated by a professional services provider; we promise to use every available legal remedy available to us to resolve your issue and to do what you ask us to do in a timely manner.

We will hold in strict confidence all information that we acquire through our work for you and which concerns your business or personal information.  The only exceptions are where you authorise us to disclose such information or where we must do so by law.

Region: Nelson

Phone: 03 544 7888

Thomson Wilson

Thomson Wilson is a full service law firm based in Whangarei. We’ve been trusted lawyers for the Northland community and beyond for 75 years.

We act for individuals and families, businesses, public sector and other organisations. Whether you need no-fuss advice on a simple matter, or a team of legal experts. 

Our staff provide advice in most areas of the law, including property law, business law, trusts and estates, separation and divorce, resource management, criminal law and more.

We also offer expertise in specialist areas such as Maori land, local government law, farming and forestry.

Region: Northland

Phone: 09 430 4380

Aspiring Law

As one of the leading general practice law firms in Wanaka, the wider Upper Clutha and Central Otago Lakes district, our job is to explain both of our respective roles in managing your legal matters.

We’re a friendly group of people and our philosophy is based on three simple principles to make sure you avoid messy, lengthy, and costly legal issues:

  • Don’t leave anything to chance - certainty provides peace of mind
  • Seek expert advice - it really is the best and most cost-effective thing you can do
  • Ask for that advice early - it will be cheaper for you in the long term

Region: Otago

Phone: 03 443 0900

Cruickshank Pryde

We are proud to provide a full suite of legal services to the regions of Southland and Central Otago. With our offices, located in Invercargill, Gore and Queenstown, equipped with the latest modern technology, we can service wider New Zealand and international clients with ease. Our areas of expertise include commercial, rural, business, employment, family, criminal, property, resource management and estate planning law.

Region: Southland

Phone: 03 214 4069

Welsh McCarthy

Welsh McCarthy practises in Hawera, South Taranaki. Predominant industries in the South Taranaki district are dairy farming, oil and gas. The South Taranaki area also has the largest one-site multi product milk processing facility in the world

We deal with company and commercial transactions, commercial and family law, farm and residential sales and purchases, estate planning and family and charitable trusts. A large part of the firm also deals in the area of family law.

Region: Taranaki

Phone: 06 278 5039

James & Wells Intellectual Property

We’re intellectual property experts, but we are also business strategists, scientists, engineers, accountants, lawyers and commercialisation specialists.

We’re all committed to the same goal – making sure Kiwi innovation makes it big on the world stage. Why are we so passionate? Well, it’s sad but true, historically Kiwis haven’t made the most of their great ideas. Maybe because most people don’t realise that 80% of the value of their business is in intangible assets.

This is why we have focused our firm on helping our clients make the most of these valuable assets. 

Region: Waikato

Phone: 07 957 5660

Gawith Burridge

Gawith Burridge traces its history back to 1875 when Charles Gawith first set up his practice. Since then the firm has undergone many changes, including a merger between Gawith & Co and Burridge & Co in 1998 to form our current practice.

Our firm draws on the breadth of expertise available from some of the region’s most senior legal practitioners, as well as the skills of those who have moved here from larger corporate environments.

As a result, we provide clients with a comprehensive range of legal services right here in the Wairarapa. We can provide you with legal assistance whether you are an individual or a company, with everything from setting up a Will to selling your farming business. 

Region: Wairarapa

Phone: 06 370 0000

Greg Kelly Law Ltd

Greg Kelly Law Limited is a boutique Wellington law firm specialising in trust and elder law. Our practice areas are wills, estates and trusts.

We act for private and institutional clients establishing and administering trusts, wills and estates. We also provide quality advice to legal and accounting firms in New Zealand and overseas. In particular, we can assist with legal opinions, obtaining and resealing probate, and estate and trust litigation.

Region: Wellington

Phone: 04 499 5193

Hannan & Seddon

The Law Firm of Hannan & Seddon dates back to September 1867.

The firm's offices were in Werita Street from 1867 until 1982 when the firm moved to Tarapuhi Street and then to its current spacious premises at 61 Guinness Street in 1998.

The name Hannan comes from Mr Michael Hannan whose son John Hannan (Jack) joined the firm in 1908. Jack Hannan remained in partnership until he passed away in 1974 at the age of 90!

The name Seddon comes from Mr T E Y Seddon (son of Premier Richard John Seddon from Kumara) who joined the firm in the 1920's. The other prominent Solicitor at Hannan & Seddon was Cyril McGinley who joined the firm in the late 1920’s and retired as a Consultant in 1997 aged 87.

Currently we have two Partners within our firm. Tony Sullivan who has been with us for 29 years and Colin Smith, 26 years. The firm also has two long serving Legal Executives Elaine Knowles and Beverley Walsh.  

Region: West Coast

Phone: 03 768 4169

All the information published on this website, or in any article herein is true and accurate to the best of the authors' knowledge. Information on this site should not be a substitute for legal advice. No liability is assumed by NZ LAW Limited, or individual NZ LAW member firms for losses suffered by any person or organisation relying directly or indirectly on information published on this site. Views expressed in any article are the views of the authors individually and do not necessarily reflect the view of NZ LAW or their member firms. Information appearing on this site may only be reproduced with prior approval from NZ LAW Limited Head Office, and credit being given to the source. © NZ LAW Limited