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What can you ask a landlord to do to support a disability in your home?

All landlords and tenants (person renting) have responsibilities under our law (the Residential Tenancies Act 1986). It’s important that our friends and whānau have a safe and accessible place to call home, and that includes our disabled community. 

Tenancy services in green font appears in the centre. (external link) As a tenant, you’ll usually start your time renting by signing a tenancy agreement with a property manager or landlord. This will include lots of details that you’re both agreeing to when you live in your new home that they own. 

From February 2021, landlords can’t decline a tenant's request to make minor changes to your rental home. This means if you need to add fixtures like grab rails, visual fire alarms and doorbells; your landlord is should not able to turn you away.

For larger changes to the home, they may be able to decline these. They will be considering how it will impact their ability to sell or rent the property in the future.  It’s worth having a good conversation with your landlord to work out how you can both be happy. Some housing modifications have temporary options, or there may be less invasive options that your occupational therapist could explore if the landlord says no.

Find more information about your rights as a tenant. (external link)

Flatmates vs renter rights

There is a difference to your rights if you are not named and have not signed a tenancy agreement. The rights of flatmates are not the same as renters.

Ministry of Justice  appears on a dark blue background. This image shows a flag, a coat of arms, a seal or some other official insignia. (external link) Another type of agreement, especially common among younger people and those who often change homes, is the flatmate agreement. It's when people, whether they own the house or rent from the owner, come together, and make their own agreement. With this type of agreement, you don't have the same rights as under the Residential Tenancies Act.

Your flatmate or the person who set up the flat will have signed the tenancy agreement and will have different responsibilities and rights. If you're in this position and have a disagreement with your landlord or flatmate, you could take a look at ‘mediation’. This is a safe space to find ground that you both agree on. (external link)

To make this happen, your go-to places would be the Small Claims Tribunal or the Disputes Tribunal. (external link)

Some interesting finds


Information about housing and how you can help make your home accessible.

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Last updated on Wednesday, 24 April 2024

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