House tenants who cause damage would be liable for the cost of their landlord's insurance excess under new legislation introduced to Parliament.
The bill is in response to a Court of Appeal ruling that meant landlords were liable for any damage accidentally caused by tenants - whether or not they had insurance.
Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith said the changes were needed to ensure tenants had an incentive to take good care of a property, and to ensure the landlord got appropriate insurance.
Dr Smith said, under the new law, tenants would be liable for the excess cost up to a maximum of four weeks' rent for each incident of damage.
The bill would also give landlords easier access to test for methamphetamine, and tenants would be able to terminate their lease if methamphetamine was found at unsafe levels at the property.