The New Zealand Private Rental Sector

Around 34% of New Zealand households rent their homes and 85% of these rent within the private rental sector. Compared to owner occupied housing, private rental housing is typically in poorer condition.  Recent amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act and Healthy Homes legislation aim to improve the condition of rental properties and protect tenant health and wellbeing.

This presentation will report the findings of research conducted in 2021, and funded by BRANZ, that investigated tenants’ and landlords’ experiences of the private rental sector. The survey of 812 tenants and 400 landlords and follow up interviews with a subset of both tenants and landlords, replicated a similar study conducted in 2015/16. Changes in responses between 2015/6 and 2021 will be highlighted. We will discuss tenants’ and landlords’ diverse pathways into and out of the rental sector, interactions between tenants and landlords around tenancies and maintenance, responses to recent regulatory changes, and future housing plans.

Presentation: Karen Witten & Penelope Carroll, The NZ Private rental sector,pdf


Karen Witten is a geographer and Professor of Public Health at Massey University. Her research focuses on neighbourhood design and how housing, transport and amenity access influence the everyday mobility, health and wellbeing of residents. Her work is interdisciplinary and has had a particular focus on the wellbeing of children and people with disabilities.

Penelope Carroll is a Public Health Researcher at Massey University. Her work is interdisciplinary with a current focus on the wellbeing of disabled people and ableism. Previous research includes co-design of urban space with young people, ableism, perceptions of medium density and the private rental sector.

This seminar took place on 22nd March 2023 at City Gallery, 101 Wakefield St, Wellington.

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Equity Health Housing & Building NZ Policy Wellbeing