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Jun 7, 2021

Tenancy Law Changes | The Lowdown for Landlords

On 12th of August 2020 through to 11th of February 2021 saw the roll out of New Zealand's biggest reform of it's Tenancy Laws in 35 years. The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020 was introduce to align with the present day realities of renting in New Zealand. Though highly controversial, the reform set out to ensure that the law appropriately balances the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords - improving tenants’ security and stability while also protecting a landlord’s interest in their property.

So what does that mean exactly for Landlords?

  • Security of rental tenure: Landlords will not be able to end a periodic tenancy without cause by providing 90 days’ notice. New termination grounds will be available to landlords under a periodic tenancy and the required notice periods have changed.
  • Changes for fixed-term tenancies: All fixed-term tenancy agreements will convert to periodic tenancies at the end of the fixed-term unless the parties agree otherwise, the tenant gives a 28-day notice, or the landlord gives notice in accordance with the termination grounds for periodic tenancies.
  • Making minor changes: Tenants can ask to make changes to the property and landlords must not decline if the change is minor. Landlords must respond to a tenant’s request to make a change within 21 days.
  • Prohibitions on rental bidding: Rental properties cannot be advertised without a rental price listed, and landlords cannot invite or encourage tenants to bid on the rental (pay more than the advertised rent amount).
  • Fibre broadband: Tenants can request to install fibre broadband, and landlords must agree if it can be installed at no cost to them, unless specific exemptions apply.
  • Privacy and access to justice: A suppression order can remove names and identifying details from published Tenancy Tribunal decisions if a party who has applied for a suppression order is wholly or substantially successful, or if this is in the interests of the parties and the public interest.
  • Assignment of tenancies: All requests to assign a tenancy must be considered. Landlords cannot decline unreasonably. If a residential tenancy agreement prohibits assignment, it is of no effect.
  • Landlord records: Not providing a tenancy agreement in writing will be an unlawful act and landlords will need to retain and provide new types of information.
  • Enforcement measures being strengthened: The Regulator (the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) will have new measures to take action against parties who are not meeting their obligations.
  • Changes to Tenancy Tribunal jurisdiction: The Tenancy Tribunal can hear cases and make awards up to $100,000. This is a change from $50,000.

Phase 3 of the rollout takes place in August 2021.

If you are unsure if you are meeting obligations required by law contact us at I-Rentals, Whangarei, Northland. We can offer you advise or take the stress away but taking control of the Property Management of your Investment.

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