Tenancy costs cover

If your situation, or a barrier you face, is making it hard to find a landlord who will offer you a private rental house, we may be able to help.

How we can help

We can give you a letter of assurance to show to landlords when you’re looking for a place. The letter assures landlords that if they offer you a place and your tenancy lasts less than a year, we’ll help pay costs at the end that your bond won’t cover.

Who can get it

You may be able to get tenancy costs cover if either:

  • you’re living in public housing
  • you’re on the social housing register, or
  • you’ve come to us with a housing need.

You would also need to:

  • either:
    • be a New Zealand citizen, or
    • have been a permanent resident and living in NZ for at least 2 years
  • be finding it hard to get private housing due to a barrier, like discrimination
  • have a better chance of securing a private house with this help
  • pay a bond to your landlord
  • have your tenancy end within 12 months (if you stay in the house for longer than 12 months, you won’t qualify for this help)
  • have costs at the end of your tenancy that your bond won’t cover.

The landlord must:

  • require a bond of up to 4 weeks
  • lodge the bond with Tenancy Services
  • use a written tenancy agreement under the Residential Tenancies Act.

We’ll also take into account other factors, such as:

  • your situation
  • if this is the best help for you
  • what other help is available to you
  • if this payment would help you move into private housing.

What you can get

We can pay up to 4 weeks of rent to help with costs that might come up at the end of your tenancy, such as rent arrears or property damage.

You’ll need to pay this money back.

How to apply

You need to apply while you’re looking for a house.

Step 1 - Call us

If you get:

You need to call:

a benefit or extra help payments from Work and Income Work and Income on 0800 559 009
NZ Super or Veteran's Pension Senior Services on 0800 552 002

Step 2 - Go to an appointment

We’ll book you an appointment to come in and see us.

At your appointment, we’ll check if you qualify for Tenancy Costs Cover and give you an application form to fill out.

If your application’s approved, we’ll give you a letter of assurance to give to landlords while you’re looking for a private house. This will explain what your tenancy costs cover is and what costs it could help pay for at the end of your tenancy.

The letter is valid for 3 months. If you don’t find a house within 3 months, the letter will expire. We may be able to issue you a new letter – contact Work and Income on 0800 559 009 to talk about this.

Step 3 - Get landlord to sign letter of assurance once you find a house

If you get accepted into a private house, you need to get your landlord to sign the letter of assurance.

You also need to gather these documents:

  • signed letter of assurance
  • bond receipt from the landlord
  • tenancy agreement.

You can drop the letter and documents off to your local Work and Income service centre or post them to us.

We’ll also send a copy of the letter to your landlord for their records.

Step 4 - Lodge a claim at the end of your tenancy

If your tenancy ends within 12 months, and you have costs that your bond won’t cover, you or your landlord can lodge a claim. If you stay in the house for longer than 12 months, you won’t be able to claim.

The claim needs to be lodged within 3 months after your tenancy ends.

The claim can be lodged by dropping off one of the following documents to your local Work and Income service centre, or posting it to us:

  • Tenancy agreement
  • Mediator’s Order, or
  • Tenancy Tribunal Order form.