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In July and August 2018, a small team from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and the Service Innovation Lab from the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), continued our discovery into Renting a Property.

Phase two of the discovery took place over four weeks and like the first one the core team were supported by a number of subject matter experts (SME) across government agencies. The team did a detailed analysis of the findings from the first discovery as well as getting new information from SMEs to validate the problems and next steps.


In order to be able to enter the design phase where we can design, build, test and learn, we needed to understand the following from discovery research:

  • What is the problem?

  • Who is it a problem for?

  • When is it happening?

Without knowing these there could be a missed opportunity to meet the right set of needs. There is an increased risk of failure to create impact without the who, what and when being evidenced prior to ideation of concepts.

Through the research in phase one it was clear there were complex relationship dynamics associated with renting. Not only were they person to person they were also between people and property. In order to better understand the impact of relationships it was crucial to define how each one worked and what good looked like. A good relationship can include the following:

  • Issues are raised without fear

  • Issues are resolved in a timely manner

  • Rapport - (know names, situation etc)

  • Consideration of actions

  • Going above and beyond requirements

  • Taking pride in their house and responsibilities

  • Autonomy

  • Maintain the mana and integrity of the other person or persons in the relationship

We noted that defined responsibilities and expectations are important to reducing conflict or managing it when it arises through accountability. Similarly, transparency encourages fairness and equality as well as manages expectations of both parties.

The outcomes

Through the analysis and validation we identified these key insights:

  1. There is strong evidence that the barriers to a ‘quality relationship’ between the parties to a tenancy start before the actual tenancy commences.

  2. There is an opportunity to be pre-emptive as it is the time before a tenancy starts in which the relationship between landlords and tenant is most critical. The events of this time have a long term impact throughout renting life journey.

  3. There is strong evidence that removing known barriers at the beginning of the renting relationship can reduce the likelihood of issues and conflict arising during a tenancy and increases a quick resolution.  

Based on these insights two key issues stood out that are occurring before people start renting a property.

  • Securing a property to rent

  • Forming a tenancy agreement.

We identified segments of people that are struggling to acquire a rental property. This could be for a variety of reasons but we think would be an ideal cohort to work with as there is a good opportunity to achieve collective impact by applying a cross agency approach with these groups.

What informed these outcomes?

  • Defining and mapping the 31 unique tenancy relationships

  • Barriers to good relationships definitions and mapping

  • Landlord and Tenant Audiences - Segmentation, Archetypes, Personas

  • Landlord and Tenant journey and barriers maps

  • Quantitative data analysis of discovery phase relationship findings

  • Logic mapping of the seven concepts from Phase One for validation against project goals

  • Māori concept of Kāinga

What’s next?

The report that covers both phases of the discovery will be posted on our toolkit. MBIE is investigating how evidence collected during this discovery can be used to inform existing and future tenancy related services.

Again, thank you to all who participated, especially those who were interviewed, came into the lab to help us on our journey, or took the time to give feedback on what we found and our ideas for the future.

If you'd like to stay across any of the work coming out of the Lab, please join our mailing list.

Post your comment


  1. sheila best 01/02/2019 4:36pm (5 months ago)

    I love getting your emails, but honestly, this sounds obvious and not worth days of work. I could say exactly the same thing about my thoughts before I visit my family.

    Issues are raised without fear

    Issues are resolved in a timely manner

    Rapport - (know names, situation etc)

    Consideration of actions

    Going above and beyond requirements

    Taking pride in their house and responsibilities


    Maintain the mana and integrity of the other person or persons in the relationship

    • Glen Thurston 05/02/2019 8:57pm (4 months ago)

      Thanks for your thoughts Sheila. While it seems obvious, our work has identified that for some, these points you have raised are not followed as good practice by tenants, landlords or property managers. It's caused by a range of factors with the most notable being a lack of education on how to be a landlord, tenant and property manager.

  2. ed bernacki 02/02/2019 4:48am (5 months ago)

    Perhaps an international comment.
    This is interesting but I am based in Canada now. When I moved back to Canada, I had to rent a place. It was terrible - no quality website to search, nor any standards as compared to having lived in Melbourne. owns the market for searching. I trust this website. In Canada, many apartments are still online that were filled months ago. This is so much better as this links to the relationship with agents. In AU, you also pay your bond into a fund, not the owner of the unit. This means your money is safe and you have an independent voice if there are issues. I lived in Wadestown once. That was too long ago....

  3. David Chan 05/02/2019 7:21am (4 months ago)

    Good work Glen! I'm interested to see the role of technology in this topic. In a world where many potential tenants don't engage with the landlord (or agent) until the tenancy commences, expectations are often only ever communicated electronically- less than ideal for establishing a good relationship.

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