RSS Feed

Can your tenant trespass you from your rental property?

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


This week's question comes from Barry (paraphrased): 


An impending termination has gone sour; the tenant is now threatening to issue me with a trespass notice barring me from entering onto the rental property. Can he do that?

Our response:

The short answer is yes.

In general, the rules of trespass is covered by the Trespass Act 1980 ("the Act"). The Act itself protects anyone who lawfully occupies a piece of land or a particular place as well as any other person occupying under his/her authority (e.g. employees, guests). Not only can your tenant trespass you from your rental, so can his sub-tenants, employees and guests.

That said, your rights to enter onto the property under s48 of the Residential Tenancies Act ("RTA") are absolute, a trespass notice cannot take that away from you. For example, you will still be able to enter onto the property to inspect and carry out maintenance so long as the requirements of s48 are satisfied (with proper notice, stand down period etc.). In general, we recommend landlords to err on the side of caution. Happy tenants don't issue trespass notices. If there is a trespass notice, chances are the situation is already pretty dire. We suggest that you give pause to weigh up the cost-benefit of exercising your s48 rights as not to aggravate the relationship any further. It is harder the predict the behaviours of an angry person. If termination is already on the cards, it may be wise to focus on smooth transitioning of tenancies rather than the acknowledgement of being right all along.

Now, it is worthwhile to examine the mechanisms of a trespass notice. The Police website gives a fairly good overview of how a trespass notice works. The particulars to note:

  1. There is no requirement of form, a trespass notice can be issued in writing or verbally (though the onus would be in the issuer to prove that a verbal notice was given);
  2. With respect to a verbal notice, there is, again, no requirement of form; the Act is silent on whether particular words must be used for the statement to constitute a trespass notice. Though sections 3 and 4 of the Act would suggest the likely acceptable words to include 'warn', 'leave', and 'stay off';
  3. With respect to a written notice, the issuer will have to either hand-deliver the notice or send it by registered mail to your home. The notice is considered served even if you refuse to accept it or drop it to the ground;
  4. Once issued, the issuer is required to give you a reasonable amount of time to leave the property (i.e. they cannot issue the notice and then ring the police immediately to remove you);
  5. A trespass notice is valid for two years or until such time that the tenancy ceases to exist; and
  6. You have a defence for defying the notice if you can prove that it was necessary for you to stay for your protection, the protection of someone else, that there is an emergency involving your property or of the property of someone else (for example, if you have reason to believe that your rental will be burnt down if you were to leave).

These are technical aspects of how a trespass notice works. Issues of trespass and access to property are human problems and best solved by human solutions. We encourage all landlords and tenants when faced with a trespass notice, to consider the bigger picture and work out the best solution to overcome current challenges so that you can all move on with your lives.


Do you have any tenancy related questions? Write to us at admin@apia.org.nz or hit us up on our social channels here and here


Recent Posts


Property (Relationships) Act minor dwelling capital gain subdivision market rent sale and purchas Must know HHS principal and interest debt enforcement short-term rental wins meth contamination auckland gluckman report rta tenancy services trust speculator holiday house market worksafe ocr letting HSWA skill shortage beginner investor advice unitary plan lvr Holler clnz CCC income CoreLogic buying rules initio wealth creation extractor fan shower dome Tribunal case study financial advisers act Q&A education auckland council LIM ird fixed-term tenancy tenancy tribunal negotiation Editor's Choice data security interest rates trespass cgt rent arrears mortgage Must knows rental wof Kris Pedersen Mortgages and Insurance cat p lab election 2017 buying twg report development cash-flow parry v inglis Investment tip watercare finance banking property management boarding house productivity property tenant first home buying DTI television partners scotney williams house prices investor ask an expert nzpif off the plan bond form renovation Guest blog Market report rta reform Investor story equity warm up new zealand privacy insurance rent increase ring-fencing sale and purchase heater bond structure property cycle housing bubble winz TCIT relationship business asbestos ventilation sublease Question and answer water bill housing affordability interest only building return robert kiyosaki How to tax government smoke alarm Sponsored post management property value letting fee property maintenance warren buffett Jeff Bezos buyer's agent reserve bank tenancy issues heating inspection airbnb rent anz landlord trademe Landlording HHGA personal growth Standards New Zealand maintenance legal positive cash flow rental market damage bad tenant investment strategy insulation


Introducing Our Partners
Principal Sponsor - Kris Pedersen Mortgages & Insurance logo Gold Sponsor - Barfoot & Thompson logo Gold Sponsor - CoreLogic logo Keith Hay Homes logo The Insulation Warehouse logo The Renovation Team logo The New Zealand Property Investors' Federation logo
09 360 2376

The Tenancy Practice Service and TPS Credit Control work closely with the Auckland Property Investors' Association. Our vision of bringing helpful resources, documents and high quality services to Auckland Property Investors and Property Managers is shared by APIA, so its a partnership that works well. 

The Auckland Property Investors' Association is a great organisation for those who want access to advice and information from a range of industry experts and partners. 

Mathieu Holt- Managing Director, The Tenancy Practice Service & TPS Credit Control
Through the Association I found the channels and methods to fund the purchase of property I never dreamed about. Grant Brown

All round it has been one of those things Neil and I felt was really worthwhile belonging to. We have learned so much it has just built our confidence in what we are doing.

Janice Bieleski
I read two articles in the monthly magazine that saved me over $5,000. That is my membership fee for the next 26 years and I am sure I will learn a whole lot more! John Duncan
Fantastic organisation. The networking opportunities are brilliant and provide us with information and opportunities that cannot be obtained anywhere else. We learn something new at every meeting and we've been in this game for nearly 20 years. Pauline and Gyanen Kumar

I find the information obtained from various APIA meetings very useful in guiding my own property investment and rental management.  I also enjoy the networking opportunities with like-minded investors.  I am inspired by other investors’ success and find the more experiences and knowledge that I share with others, the more confident I become.  

Thanks to all APIA event organizers and administrators for your brilliant work. 

Stella Shao

I like talking to people and learning from their experience because it gives me the confidence to invest well. I think it is a knowledge thing. I now know I am doing things the right way.

Stephen Weatherall

My APIA membership has become a total success.

Every time I attend a monthly or regional meeting I come away with so many useful and positive tips that have added value to my property investments and management.

Not only that, the website is a great place for practical advice and useful information. It has now evolved into an important resource for my business.

Talk about value for money! The discounts I have been getting at Bunnings when I present my APIA membership card have more than paid for my annual subscription!

Tim Duffett, Plan A Investments Limited