Becoming a tenant

Before offering you their property to rent most landlords will ask for certain information, like:

  • where and when you’ve rented before
  • whether you can afford it
  • if you pay your rent and bills on time (your credit history).

Having a reference

If you currently rent a property or have rented property before, make sure you get a reference from your landlord to say:

  • you regularly pay your rent on time
  • you’ve kept the property in a clean and tidy condition.

If you’ve never rented a property, it’s a good idea to get a general reference from a respected community member who knows you. This might be a church leader, an employer or someone you’ve done voluntary work for. These people should be able to confirm that you're reliable.

Your employment or income

If you're in paid work, ask your employer to give you a letter stating that you’re employed in a permanent or long-term job. Or, you could show your landlord your bank statement with regular income.

Your credit history

If you owe money or have had unpaid bills in the past, your credit history may stop you getting a house to rent. You can check what credit information is held about you with Tenancy Information New Zealand (TINZ), the Ministry of Justice Tenancy Tribunal or any CIA Debt Recovery Group. This could take up to five days.

Make a good impression

You’ll want to show that you’re a tidy and reliable person. Turn up to look at the house on time and dressed smartly. First impressions count – most people will think that if you care about how you look, you’ll care about their house too.


Pets can be an important part of your life, but they can make it harder to find a place to live.

Some landlords don’t allow pets. A tenant without any pets usually has more chance of getting a place. It’s not that landlords don’t like animals, it’s just that they’ve seen the damage they can sometimes cause.

Finding a property with a willing landlord and the right kind of fencing and facilities to keep a dog could be stopping you from finding a place to live.

What if I can’t take my dog?

If you need to re-home your dog, you could advertise on community noticeboards, Trade Me, in newsletters or newspapers. If you can’t do this yourself,  the Humane Society or the SPCA may be able to help.