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Bad RTA News For Landlords

The Government’s longawaited tenancy law reforms are now out and they are going to make it much harder for landlords to get rid of bad tenants.

By: Property Investor Team

1 December 2019

Associate Minister of Housing Kris Faafoi recently announced a suite of changes to the Residential Tenancies Act.

For landlords, the most concerning of them is the removal of a landlord’s right to use 90-day, “no-cause” terminations to end a periodic tenancy agreement.

While anti-social behaviour and rent arrears will still be cause for eviction notices, it is proposed that landlords will have to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal in such cases.

Other changes include limiting rent increases to once a year, banning the solicitation of rental bids by landlords, and allowing tenants to make minor changes to rental properties like babyproofing and hanging pictures.

Additionally, financial penalties will be increased and new tools to take direct action against people not meeting their obligations will be introduced to improve compliance with the law.

Faafoi says that greater security of tenancy and less regular rent increases, coupled with the ability to make minor improvements, mean renters will be better placed to make their house a home.

The reforms are balanced and provide certainty to both renters and landlords about their respective roles and responsibilities, he says.

“We understand that landlords require clear guidelines, which help them protect their investment and assist them in their dealings with difficult tenants, and the law ensures this. If a tenant acts irresponsibly there can be repercussions.”

However, NZ Property Investors’ Federation executive officer Andrew King says the changes do more than punish landlords - they will punish anyone living next to a tenant with antisocial behaviour.

“The Government has tried to provide a tool for landlords to manage tenants with antisocial behaviour, but it requires neighbours to put themselves at risk of retaliation from their antisocial neighbours.”

Currently, the landlords of badly behaving tenants can efficiently end these tenancies without involving the neighbours or the Tenancy Tribunal, by issuing a no cause 90-day notice, King says.

“But if the changes go through, neighbours will have to provide three notices to the landlord before the landlord can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for permission to end the tenancy.

“If neighbours don’t want to put themselves at risk to provide the landlord with proof of antisocial behaviour,

landlords cannot move their tenants on and it is the affected neighbours who will have to move.”

The Bill containing the reforms will be introduced to Parliament in the first part of next year.


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