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Compliance Police

When the MBIE Compliance Team comes knocking, don’t panic, writes Sharon Cullwick.

By: Sharon Cullwick

6 April 2022

It was recently announced that if the Labour Party becomes the Government again, they will be adding an additional 40 residential tenancies investigators to the MBIE Compliance and Investigation Team. This team was set up in 2016 and up until recently employed 32 investigation staff. This number will soon be increasing to 72.

The Compliance and Investigation Team’s vision is “A fair rental market promoting behaviour that supports a better renting experience for tenants and landlords”. Their mission is to add value to the tenancy sector by being an effective regulator. This involves assessing landlord performance, conducting investigations and building relationships with key stakeholders.

The addition of staff to the team signifies that you will have a much higher chance of having a team member knocking at your door. They will ask to do an inspection and check paper work and correspondence is all up to date.

In the past few years this MBIE team has shifted from a reactive based organisation to a proactive one focusing on compliance and intervention.

Their level of funding has significantly increased over time. If the Labour Party is returned to power, they have announced that another $40 million will be available for this division of MBIE.

During the following periods, the Compliance Team has undertaken:
July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2018: 910 interventions
July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019: 1,047 interventions
July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 – the team was funded for 2,000 interventions across all landlord sectors. These included a detailed assessment of 200 property management companies, 200 private landlords, 10 community housing providers, and a simple assessment of 890 private landlords, 300 property managers and 400 reactive assessments.

The Compliance Team has many different ways of choosing their next landlord to scrutinise. These include the data from bond lodgement forms, tenants’ complaints and a lottery draw when someone’s name just happens to turn up on the list for no particular reason.

When the compliance team comes knocking, they are seeking information from section 123A of the Residential Tenancies Act. This could include:

• the tenancy agreement and any variations or renewals of it

• any inspection reports you have conducted on the property

• records of any maintenance work carried out at the premises

• your compliance documentation in relation to the Healthy Homes, including insulation statements, and the heating tool assessment;

• Any other documentation about the property even before the tenant took up residency; and

• Any notices or letters or other forms of correspondence between you, the landlord, and the tenant.

The compliance team has the right to ask for this information up to 12 months after the tenancy has ended. If you decline to present these documents within 10 working days, it is an unlawful act and could result in a substantial fine.

So, my advice is to be prepared. Make sure you have completed the Landlord Compliance Checklist from the Tenancy Services website as a starting point for each of your properties. If you purchase a new property, start collecting all the information you can on the property as soon as possible. Include in this folder any quotes for work on the property. The LIM, and PIM reports and council files are also helpful, and any other assessments you have completed. Also keep all of your tenancy information in a specific place. Ten days is not a long time to collate this information, but if you collect this information, it will be easier.

It may seem like it is another attack on landlords, but the MBIE Compliance and Investigation Team is there to work with the sector to ensure compliance of landlords and property managers and ensure that they are acting in professional manner.


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