Tenants have long desired to make changes to the current rental laws. So, what are these changes proposed by tenant lobbyists, Renters United, and what are their potential effects on New Zealand landlords.
Here are some of the main changes proposed:
1. Tenants should be allowed to stay in the property indefinitely
The group believes that renters are treated more like visitors, moving from one property to another, never having enough time to put roots down and make a rented property their proper home. To improve this, they believe that limits should be placed on the use of fixed term tenancies and on reasons landlords can terminate a tenancy for (non-payment of rent, serious illegal or anti-social behaviour and significant damage to the property).
2. Renters should be allowed to keep pets and to make minor adjustment to the property
In conjunction with making a rental property tenants’ home, the group believes that tenants should be able to keep any pet of their right, making small changes to the property including painting rooms.
3. Tenants should be able to make changes to the tenancy agreement
It is also proposed that small adjustments to exisiting tenancy agreement terms should also be allowed when tenants' personal circumstances change.
4. Property inspections should be less frequent
Reduce the allowed frequency of inspections to once every six months after tenants have occupied a property for more than a year.
5. Rental increases should be limited
To not compromise renters right to a home, rent increases should be less frequent and limited to general inflation rather than actual costs.
6. No letting fees should be charged to tenants
Abolish letting fees and all other fees charged to tenants by landlords or their agents.
7. Minimum quality standards of all rental housing in New Zealand should be increased
This includes both safety, health and minimum amenities requirements. All rental properties should be also required to have a certificate showing compliance in order to be tenanted at all.
8. Renters should not fear eviction for reporting problems
Tenants should be encouraged to report problems as they arise in a timely and cost-effective manner.
9. Mediation services should be reviewed
Expand availability of mediation services to allow tenants and landlords to access a comprehensive dispute resolution service without needing to apply to the Tribunal.
10. All property managers should be licensed
Establish a professional regulatory body that creates a code of ethics, coordinates professional development and sets minimum standards for the industry such as non-discriminatory application processes. Empower this regulatory body to sanction or delicense property managers who breach established standards.
It is important to remember that rental market is made up of both tenants and property owners. And so, it is important that laws, policies and proposed changes represent interests of both parties. To read more on the Renters United proposed plan, head to their website
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