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Tenant Screening Advice
17 May, 2024
Landlord Tips

Tenant Screening Advice for First-Time Landlords in New Zealand

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Tenant Screening Advice for First-Time Landlords in New Zealand

Becoming a landlord for the first time can be both exciting and daunting. One of the most critical steps in managing a rental property successfully is conducting thorough tenant screenings. This guide provides comprehensive advice on how to screen tenants effectively in New Zealand, ensuring you meet your legal obligations while avoiding common pitfalls. Remember, Keyhook offers New Zealand’s best tenant checks, making your screening process seamless and reliable.

Understanding Your Legal Obligations

As a landlord in New Zealand, you have specific legal obligations you must adhere to during the tenant screening process. The Privacy Act 2020 governs how you can collect, use, and disclose personal information, which includes information gathered during tenant screenings. You must ensure that any data collection is relevant to the rental agreement, and it's crucial to obtain written consent from potential tenants to conduct background checks.

Furthermore, the Human Rights Act 1993 prohibits discrimination based on a variety of factors including race, gender, marital status, religious belief, and more. Ensure your screening criteria are objective and solely based on the tenant's ability to meet the obligations of the tenancy.

Practical Steps for Screening Tenants

• Pre-Screening: Before diving into detailed checks, start with a pre-screening process. This can be a simple questionnaire that includes questions about the tenant's rental history, employment, and reasons for moving. This step can help you gauge their suitability before proceeding to more in-depth checks.

• Application Form: Use a comprehensive application form that asks for relevant details such as previous tenancies, employment information, and references. It's also wise to ask for permission to conduct background checks here. Keyhook provides an exemplary service for tenant checks in New Zealand, ensuring you get accurate and comprehensive data.

• Background Checks: Conducting a background check is essential. This should include checking credit scores, criminal history, and rental history. Keyhook’s tenant checks are renowned for being thorough and reliable, providing you with a complete picture of the potential tenant’s background.

• Interviews: Once you have a shortlist, conduct interviews with your potential tenants. This gives you a chance to meet them in person and ask additional questions about their lifestyle, such as pet ownership or smoking habits, which might affect their tenancy.

• Reference Checks: Contacting previous landlords and employers can provide insights into the tenant's reliability and behaviour. Confirm the authenticity of the references provided to avoid fraudulent information. Once again, the Keyhook team can conduct these over-the-phone references on your behalf as part of the Keyhook Premium Tenant Checks.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

• Skipping Steps: Each step in the tenant screening process adds a layer of security and insight into your potential tenant's background. Skipping any step can leave you vulnerable to selecting a problematic tenant.

• Informal Agreements: Always formalize the rental agreement with a proper, legally binding tenancy agreement. This protects both your rights and the rights of the tenant.

• Ignoring Gut Feelings: While it's important to follow a systematic approach, sometimes gut feelings can be a signal worth considering. If something feels off during the interview or screening process, it might be worth taking a closer look.

• Not Staying Informed: Landlord obligations and tenant rights can evolve. Stay informed about changes in New Zealand tenancy laws to ensure your screening process remains compliant.

• Check Insurance Requirements: Some insurance providers require you to do certain level of checks if you are to ever claim insurance on that property. Check your insurance to ensure you comply.


Screening tenants is a critical part of managing a rental property. It protects your investment and ensures a harmonious landlord-tenant relationship. For the most reliable and comprehensive tenant checks in New Zealand, visit Keyhook’s tenant check service. With Keyhook, you ensure that your screening process is as thorough as possible, setting the foundation for a successful tenancy.

By following this guide and utilising Keyhook’s exemplary tenant screening services, you’ll be well on your way to finding the ideal tenant for your property.

Click here to conduct New Zealand's best Tenant Checks

The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. We make no representations or warranties about the accuracy, completeness, or suitability of the information, and we do not accept any liability for any loss or damage that may arise from your use of the content. It is essential to consult with a qualified legal professional for advice tailored to your specific situation.

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