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Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill introduced

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Today the Government is making progress on a fairer and more secure rental market for renters and landlords with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill in Parliament.

"This Bill includes a series of reforms to improve the wellbeing of the 609,700 households that live in rented homes, and they provide a balance between the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords," Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Kris Faafoi said.

The Bill, first announced in November 2019, implements the changes to modernise New Zealand’s rental laws and align them with the present-day realities of renting in New Zealand.

"In selecting these changes, we have been mindful of the need to modernise the law and correct problems in a way which is proportionate, places reasonable requirements on landlords and tenants that can provide both parties with certainty," Kris Faafoi said.

"These changes get that balance right. They will build on the gains we have already made to ensure that rental properties are warm, dry and safe. They will provide a higher level of security to tenants, and ensure that landlords continue to have the tools they need to manage their assets and provide a high quality of service to their tenants," he said.

As announced on 17 November 2019, the changes will:

Improve tenant’s security by requiring the use of a justified reason to end a periodic tenancy, including new provisions to respond to anti-social behaviour and removing the use of no cause terminations to end a periodic tenancy agreement.

Flatten the inflated demand that has been created in some regions by tenancies all ending at the same time by mandating that fixed-term tenancy agreements must become periodic tenancy agreements upon expiry unless both parties agree otherwise, or certain conditions apply.

Improve compliance with the law by increasing financial penalties and giving the Regulator new tools to take direct action against parties who are not meeting their obligations.

Remove a disincentive for parties to use the Tenancy Tribunal by allowing for identifying details to be anonymised in situations where a party has been wholly or substantially successful in taking a case.

Make rental properties safer and more liveable by ensuring that tenants can add minor changes, such as brackets to secure furniture and appliances against earthquake risk, baby proof the property, install visual fire alarms and doorbells and hang pictures.

Prohibit the solicitation of rental bids by landlords and limit rent increases to once every 12 months.

The Bill also includes additional ultra-fast broadband proposals to:

Improve the process for the installation of fibre in rental properties by requiring landlords to permit and facilitate the installation of Ultra-Fast Broadband, subject to specific triggers and exemptions.

New Zealanders have already seen the removal of letting fees, and the introduction of Healthy Homes Standards to provide adequate insulation, heating and ventilation, which will require compliance from 1 July 2021.

"This Government considers that every New Zealander should have a safe, warm, dry home to call their own - especially if they’re renting," Kris Faafoi said.

For more information on the Residential Tenancies Act reform visit the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development’s website.

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