Main content area

Tenants in commercial premises

Premises such as warehouses, which are ordinarily for commercial purposes, are sometimes let as residential premises. You can have a tenancy agreement under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (RT Act 2010) for a warehouse or other commercial premises, but be aware that the RT Act 2010 does not apply if the predominantuse of the premises is for the purpose of a trade, profession, business or agriculture (section 7(h)).

Also be aware that agents and landlords often use a commercial tenancy agreement, even where the sole or predominant use of the premises is to be residential, rather than commercial. The agreement may even contain terms stating that use of the premises as a residence is prohibited. As usual, the important thing is the substance of the agreement, not its form, so if in substance it is an agreement to use the premises as a residence, the RT Act 2010 will apply. However, if you have an agreement in commercial form and a dispute arises about whether the RT Act 2010 applies, you may have difficulty proving to the Tribunal that you in fact have a residential tenancy agreement (and not a commercial agreement that you’ve breached by living in the premises). Keep written, dated notes as to your negotiations with the landlord or agent at the start of the tenancy.