More a tenth of all tenancies end with a complaint to the Tenancy Tribunal.
The tribunal had 411,915 active bonds as at June 30 and for the year ended June 30, it received 47,825 complaints.
That covers about 11.5 percent of all tenancies and the most common problem, accounting for 35,439 complaints, is rent arrears.
Department of Building and Housing client services manager Megan Martin told APNZ most complaints were from landlords, given that most complaints involved rent arrears.
The number of complaints was higher than the department would ideally like but was "probably reasonably good, given everything'', she said.
There had not been a spike in complaints in Christchurch following a series of devastating earthquakes there but the type of problems there had changed.
"What we have seen is probably more complexity down there,'' Martin said.
"It goes to things like whether or not a property is uninhabitable.''
The department receives bonds from Housing New Zealand and private landlords, and only a small percentage of landlords failed to lodge bonds with it, she said.
It was a system which "definitely'' worked well, with the department investing a lot of time and money into making sure groups such as property investors were aware of their obligations and entitlements.
But one rental property manager, who did not want to be named, told APNZ the system favoured tenants.
"Up until last year you made an application, they set a date, you had your hearing,'' she said.
"Now it's quite a long time until you have your hearing.''
In the meantime, the property still had to be fixed."Who pays for the contractors? Why should the owner be paying for contractors to repair his property when there's a bond held but we just can't get access to it?''
She was currently pursuing a tenant who had left a property in need of $1100 of repairs, thanks largely to two rottweiler dogs.
"They were locked inside and soiled the carpet, the doors and windows are filthy and the paintwork is all scratched,'' she said.
The tenant also used a section as a rubbish tip.
The rental manager was trying to track the tenant down through Work and Income as her $920 bond could not be used for the repairs until she agreed. If she did not agree, a complaint would have to be lodged with the Tenancy Tribunal and it would take about two months to be heard.
"The tenancy system is very weighted in terms of the tenant,'' the manager said.
- APNZBy Sharon Lundy Email Sharon