Your rent payments

If you're living in public housing you can find out how we calculate your rent, when and how we review this, and what to do about any issues with paying your rent.

Calculating your rent

The amount of rent you pay will be based on your income. It may also include the income of people living with you, it depends on your living situation.

We’ll work out how much rent you’ll need to pay - this is called Income Related Rent.

You'll need to pay your rent to your landlord. If you get a benefit, New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension from Work and Income, they'll generally pay your rent directly to your landlord for you.

If you disagree with a decision about your rent, talk to us. We may be able to solve the problem or explain the decision. If you still disagree, you can apply for a review of decision.

Reviewing your rent payments

We review your rent payments to make sure you’re paying the right amount of rent. We do this:

  • whenever you, your partner, and anyone who’s on the tenancy agreement with you has a permanent change to their income, or
  • when it’s been 12 months since your last rent review

Permanent change to income

A permanent change to income means any changes that last longer than 8 weeks. This could be things like:

  • starting or stopping work
  • going onto a benefit, or
  • getting a pay rise.

You need to tell us as soon as you can when a change like this happens. Some changes are only temporary, e.g. your hours change each week, or you are temporarily sick and can’t work. You need to tell us if this happens, so we can see if this change is permanent, before we review your rent.

This means you don’t have to worry about your rent changing amounts each week, so it makes it easier to plan ahead.

Yearly reviews

If we haven’t reviewed your rent for 12 months, we'll send you a letter to check if your situation has changed. This includes things like income changes, if anyone has moved out or moved in etc. If there are changes, it may affect how much rent you pay.

You need to check the information in the letter to see if it's still correct. If your situation:

  • has changed, tell us by calling the correct number in the 'How to tell us' section.
    • You may need to provide proof of these changes - if so, we'll tell you what documents you need to provide.
  • has not changed, sign the form and return it to us by the date in your letter.

When you start paying your new rent

Once we've worked out how much rent you should be paying, we check how much it will increase or decrease by.

We’ll only change your rent when there is either:

  • an increase of $5 or more per week, or
  • a decrease of $1 or more per week

If your rent payment does change, then we‘ll send you a letter to tell you how much this is. Your landlord will also send you a letter, to tell you when you need to start paying the new rent amount.

Issues with paying rent

You may be in a situation where you haven't been able to pay your rent and your landlord is now asking you to pay it.

You need to talk to your landlord first to see if you can make a payment arrangement with them. If this is not possible, Work and Income may be able to help.