The End of a Tenancy

Moving is one of the most stressful things you can do.   When you rent, it is not always your decision to move and this can make moving even more stressful.  Be prepared and have a plan.

The tenant must:

  • move out by the date set out in the notice ending the tenancy,
  • leave the property reasonably clean and tidy,
  • remove any rubbish or arrange for its removal, and
  • pay the rent up to the last day of the tenancy.


A lot of tenant / landlord disputes happen at the end of the tenancy, and often about the bond.  The best way to prevent a landlord claim on your bond is to know clearly what ‘wear and tear’ or damage happened during your tenancy or was already there before you moved in.   Ideally, you and the landlord will do a property inspection at the beginning of the tenancy and then again at the end.

Landlord access

A landlord may want to show prospective tenants the property and access for this purpose cannot be unreasonable withheld by the tenant.   Remember that landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities exist until the end of the tenancy so the landlord still needs the tenant consent to enter.

We recommend that tenants consider what times are not suitable and give these times to the landlord, and at the same time offer times that are more suitable. For example – "Sundays and mornings are not good for us. Saturday mornings and Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4pm to 6pm are most convenient for us. Please let us know before those times if you are coming and please ring us if you want to make an appointment for other times".

Common mistakes or problems: Tips:
Not being sure if the rent is in advance or not, or by how much.
  • At the start of your tenancy make a note of the dates you make your first few rent payments – confusion about what happened at the start results in confusion at the end. How many weeks in advance did you pay at the start and when did you make the next rent payment after that?
  • If you do not agree with the landlord then request a rent summary so you can check your records against theirs.
Thinking you are allowed to return to the property after the tenancy expires to carry any repairs or cleaning.
  • Ask for an inspection the month before the final inspection so you have time to fix any problems.
  • Move out before the last day so you can see the property empty, and have time to address any issues before you hand back the keys.
  • Have a witness / someone with you when you do the end of tenancy inspection with the landlord.
  • Do your own property inspection if the landlord will not do one with you before the tenancy ends.
Not allowing enough time to clean or move out.
  • Create a plan and tick off things as you go.
  • Have a plan B for if friends / family who have offered to help you are then not able to.
Being pressured into moving out by lunchtime.
  • You have paid for the day so cannot be made to move out by noon, however you will need to be reasonable and work in with the landlord – they don’t want to collect the keys at midnight!
  • Remember, the landlord cannot move you out in the morning and someone in that afternoon. They cannot have two contracts for the same house existing at the same time or collect two days worth of rent for one day.
Not allowing enough time for the recycling and rubbish bins to be collected before you move out.
  • Have most of the rubbish you can ready to take out on the rubbish collection day before you move out, and have a plan for what to do with any rubbish created after that day.
Believing you can use the bond as rent.
  • You must pay rent until the last day of the tenancy. If you are in rent arrears at the end of the tenancy the bond will be used to cover it, but landlords will not accept you stopping the rent on purpose before the end.
Dealing with both the owner and the property manager, and coming to different understandings or agreements.
  • Your property manager is the landlord and therefore it is arrangements with them that matter the most. If the owner makes any kind of agreement with you then immediately inform the property manager and record your agreement in writing.
Signing a blank or incomplete bond refund form.
  • On the bond refund form, ‘refund details’ are written in section 4. This section is for recording how much money goes to the tenant and/or landlord. Never sign a bond refund form unless this section is filled in. Never forget that the bond is the tenant’s money and is only given to the landlord with the tenants consent.
Making a poor choice about the next place you live
  • Even if you have to move in a hurry don’t forget that if the next place doesn’t work out it means another move. Take the time to make sure the new property will meet your needs and will feel like HOME.

Contact Details

Tenants Protection Association (ChCh) Inc
Te Tōpū Tiaki-ā-Kainoho
Room 3, 301 Tuam Street, Christchurch 8011
Ph.(03) 379-2297

info [at] tpa [dot] org [dot] nz (subject: Enquiry%20from%20Website)