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Proposed changes to the “broken” rental laws by Renters United

Photo: View From Mount Eden by russellstreet

Renters United have recently proposed 36 law changes to fix “broken” rental system. What’s in it for you?

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

The information contained in this article is exclusively for promotional purposes. It does not in any way constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as the basis for any legal action or contractual dealings. The information is not, and does not attempt to be, a comprehensive account of the relevant law in New Zealand. If you require legal advice you should seek independent legal counsel. myRent.co.nz does not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.

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