Running a hostel

Find information and the relevant forms required for setting up or renewing a hostel licence.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Boards
  • Private hostel providers
  • Principals and tumuaki

Student hostels can be set up and run by schools or by private providers and include health camps. Hostels need to be licensed to operate, and must adhere to the Education (Hostel) Regulations including all minimum standards specified in the guidelines.

Updated regulations

Education hostel regulations have been updated with a change in ‘Supervision, Staffing and Security’.

Education (Hostels) Regulations – Guidelines

Hostel supervision, staffing and security – NZ Legislation(external link)

Setting up a new hostel

A hostel is defined as having 5 or more beds and charges students a fee for boarding there. Both schools and private providers can set up a hostel.

If you want to set up a new hostel, read the Guidelines to the Hostel Regulations 2005 before completing your application form. All hostels need to meet the minimum standards specified in these guidelines.

Schools must contact their Ministry Property Advisor for advice if they plan to build a new hostel.

Renewing a hostel licence

You need to renew your hostel licence every 3 years. The Ministry of Education (the Hostel Licencing Authority) will email you a reminder that your licence is expiring 2, 6, and 12 months before the expiry date. You need to submit your licence renewal form 20 working days before the licence expires.

When things change

Hostel owners need to let the Hostel Licencing Authority know when there is a change of owner, change of premises and notice of new directors.

Hostel reviews

ERO reviews all hostels as part of their regular review cycle.

School hostels – ERO website(external link)

Complaints about hostels

Students, schools and parents can complain about a hostel. Complaints need to be sent to the hostel owner who will follow the complaints procedure on page 31 of the guidelines. 

Operating a hostel

Hostels need to meet minimum operating standards for the building structure and facilities, maintenance, emergency management and health and safety.

Read the guidelines for further details or contact your Ministry Property Advisor.

Property staff contacts

Hostel running costs

Hostel owners must be able to pay the running costs, including the upkeep, from boarding fees or other board funds.

We don't provide any operating, maintenance or capital funding for hostels. This means that you can't pay for your hostel’s maintenance costs using your school’s Property Maintenance Grant (PMG) or 5 Year Agreement (5YA) funding.

Setting hostel fees

Hostel owners must set hostel fees at a level that will cover all operating, maintenance and modernisation costs.

Financial accounting for your school hostel

If you're a school hostel owner and need assistance with this, contact your Ministry Financial Advisor.

Contacts – Managing school finances

Forms and regulations

Email completed and scanned forms to 

Find the forms and regulations that you need for running your hostel. 

Hostel forms and guidelines
Hostel guidelines Guidelines to the hostel regulations 2005
Applying for a new licence Education (Hostels) Regulations 2005 Application for a hostel licence [DOCX, 155 KB] 
Renewing a licence Education (Hostels) Regulations 2005 Application for renewal of licence form [DOCX, 327 KB] 
Change forms Application for hostel change of ownership form [DOCX, 52 KB]

Application for change of premises or operations form [DOCX, 57 KB]

Notice of new directors or persons concerned with the management of a body corporate form [DOCX, 47 KB]

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