About the Tribunal

The Tenancy Tribunal and Tenancy Services deal with disputes about residential tenancies (rented homes including boarding houses) and unit title disputes. The tribunal holds hearings to settle the disputes.

Before coming to the tribunal, you can try to settle your dispute through mediation. The mediation is run by Tenancy Services, which is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). 

Contact the tribunal through Tenancy Services(external link)

Tribunal hearings

Tribunal hearings are informal. The tribunal makes decisions about each dispute based on the general principles of the law and the merits and justice of the case. It doesn’t have to follow strict legal technicalities.

If you intend on having a witness give evidence at the hearing you must fill in the witness summons [PDF, 94 KB] form and take it to the court the hearing will be heard in to be signed by the case officer.

Hearings are run by adjudicators

Hearings are heard by unbiased and independent tenancy adjudicators. Most adjudicators are lawyers. They’re appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Ministers of Justice and Housing.

View the current adjudicators

Hearings take place in most District Courts

Find your nearest Tenancy Tribunal hearing court

Practice Notes

Practice Note 1/2019: Requests for Tenancy Tribunal audio recordings [PDF, 87 KB]

Tenancy Services and District Courts both support the tribunal

While Tenancy Services is the main point of contact for the Tenancy Tribunal, its day-to-day work is supported by both Tenancy Services and District Court staff.

Tenancy Services:

  • accepts tenancy or unit title applications
  • runs a mediation service
  • schedules the first hearing if mediation fails or is not used
  • provides information, education and advice on tenancy and unit title matters
  • administers residential tenancy bonds.

District Court case officers:

  • support the tribunal and the adjudicators
  • liaise with the people involved once an application is filed at the court
  • sort out applications for adjournments (delays to hearings)
  • manage applications for rehearings and appeals.

Laws covering the Tenancy Tribunal

The Tenancy Tribunal was set up under section 67 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986(external link)

The Act:

  • sets out the law around residential tenancies
  • defines the rights and duties of landlords and tenants of residential properties
  • sets up a tribunal to settle disputes between landlords and tenants
  • sets up a fund which tenants’ bonds are paid into.

The tribunal can hear disputes about unit title developments under section 171 of the Unit Tiles Act 2010(external link)

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