The Government continues to deliver on its promise to address outdated tenancies laws, as renting becoming a long-term reality for many families in NZ.
The key changes
-Ending no cause termination of periodic tenancies
The new rules will see the end to no-cause terminations and a 90-day termination notice or termination of periodic tenancy without reason. There will be a list of specified reasons that can be used to end the tenancy.
-Requiring all fixed-term tenancies to become periodic.
Upon expiry all fixed-term tenancies will become periodic unless: both parties agree otherwise, the tenant is not meeting their obligations, or specified grounds for the tenancy to end apply.
-Limiting rent increases to once every 12 months
Currently, landlords have a right to increase rent once every six months.
-Extending a 42-day notice when the landlord wants to sell
Tenants will need to be given a 63-90 days notice if the landlord wants to move back into the property or put it for sale.
-Banning rental bidding
Rental bidding is a controversial practice that has come up since the demand for houses has increased. It was brought to the Government's attention that some landlords advertise their properties without a price or encourage tenants to bid against one another (especially with high demand properties). Such activities will be prohibited.
-Allowing tenants to add minor changes and fittings to their rental homes
Tenants will be allowed to make minor low-risk changes to the property such as hanging pictures, baby-proofing, installing alarms and brackets to secure furniture against earthquake risk.
-Making complaints to the Tenancy Tribunal anonymous
A party who is (wholly or substantially) successful in the Tenancy Tribunal can choose to have their identifying details removed from the Tribunal's decision.
-Increasing financial penalties for non-compliance
The Tenancy Compliance and Investigations team will have new compliance tools to take action against parties who are not meeting their obligations, and The Tenancy Tribunal will be able to award compensation or order work to be done up to a value of $100,000 (currently the maximum is $50,000).
The next step
The changes will be drafted in a Bill to amend the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, which will be introduced to Parliament in early 2020.