All the references to this research can be found here

In the 2013 census, 42 percent of people for whom tenure status was identifiable were living in rental accommodation (see The New Zealand Rental Sector, 7). Since this time house prices have increased, creating barriers to home ownership. It is therefore likely that the proportion of renters has risen. Renting has now become a permanent status for many New Zealanders.

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The census data tell us more about who is renting. People aged 20-34 years were most likely to be renting; older age groups were least likely to be. By ethnicity, Pacifika peoples were most likely to be renting, followed by Māori. Most households who rent do so from private landlords.

People who rent tend to be on lower incomes than homeowners. A survey of over 1,000 tenants found their median income was well below the New Zealand median. Some face significant financial pressure. For 2014 to 2015, 72 percent of children living in poverty lived in rental homes – 57 percent in private rentals and a further 15 percent in Housing New Zealand homes (See Household Incomes in New Zealand, 142).


A number of studies provide insight into renting in New Zealand. Here are some key pieces of research and what they tell us - for more see References and Further Reading. The findings of these pieces of research are included throughout this report.

The New Zealand Rental Sector

The results of a three-phase study of the New Zealand private rental housing sector in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, based on Census data
and extensive surveys and interviews of tenants and landlords. Findings cover characteristics of tenants and properties, tenants’ experiences and future plans.

Household incomes in New Zealand: Trends in indicators of inequality and hardship

A regular, comprehensive report by the Ministry of Social Development about New Zealanders’ household incomes. Covers a range of topics including housing stress, the accommodation supplement and the living situations of children in poverty.

Child Poverty Monitor: Technical Report 2016

Provides data on a range of indicators used to assess child poverty in New Zealand. Data is provided on housing tenure, affordability, crowding and quality. Data is also provided on child hospitalisations for conditions with a social gradient (such as respiratory and communicable diseases, for which housing is a contributing factor).

The BRANZ House Condition Survey

Conducted every five years to investigate the condition of rented and owner-occupied homes. In 2015/2016 assessors visited 560 houses, including 149 rentals, and recorded information on insulation, ventilation, heating and mould. They found that rental housing tends to be in poorer condition than owner-occupied housing.

The HRV State of the Home Survey

Also investigates housing quality via a survey in which residents report the condition of their home. The 2017 version surveyed 1040 New Zealanders. 79 percent
of renters reported they would rather be living in a warmer, drier, healthier home.

Trademe Rent Price Index

Provides a monthly analysis of the rental property market across the country. This is based on the rent prices being sought in listings from the past month.

Paper Walls

A 2013 analysis of the laws that protect healthy housing in New Zealand. Recommends legislative changes that would improve the situation for renters.

Renting in New Zealand: Perspectives from tenant advocates

In this article, the authors argue that tenant advocates play an important role in supporting tenants to improve housing, and that they have expertise to contribute unique perspectives on policy solutions.

Individual and collective action for healthy rental housing in New Zealand

In this thesis the author analyses five key phases of collective tenant protest in New Zealand’s history. She also analyses tenants’ ability to advocate for their individual interests. The thesis shows that tenants’ health disadvantages are inextricably linked to their power disadvantages. It is argued that improving the health of tenants requires interventions that account for power disparities.

Decent Expectations? The Use and Interpretation of Housing Standards in Tenancy Tribunals in New Zealand

This article explores the existing housing quality standards that apply to the New Zealand rental sector and investigates how these are interpreted in practice. The authors argue that the lack of a clear and well- publicised standard prevents a robust enforcement of landlords’ obligations to provide adequate housing.

Residential Mobility Report 1: Moving house in the first 1000 days

Part of the findings of Growing Up in New Zealand, a longitudinal study. This report provides insight into families’ residential mobility, providing data on frequency of moves and the impacts on service access, neighbourhood integration and belonging.

Kimihia Ngā Whare Māori Ōranga Pai

A 2017 study exploring the challenges faced by Māori renters in Greater Wellington, based on a survey and narrative interviews. Special effort was made to hear the experiences of Takatāpui renters. 79% of the 77 survey respondents felt that housing was negatively affecting the health of someone they lived with. 43% had experienced discrimination when finding housing. 32% felt at risk of becoming homeless.