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Heatley: Housing Minister Announces Review Of The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Phil Heatley
Phil Heatley

19 February 2009 - Housing Minister Phil Heatley today announced that he is reviewing aspects of Labour's Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No 2).

The Bill was introduced to Parliament in May last year after Labour began consultation on it in 2004. It was intended to better clarify the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords.

Mr Heatley says: "This Bill is well-intentioned in that it aims to encourage stable tenancies in homes which are well-looked after while enabling landlords to better manage them."

However, concerns have been raised about some specific provisions of the Bill and matters for which provision was not made, particularly:

the absence of proposals allowing for decisive action to be taken to deal with assaults, or threats of assault, by tenants' guests or associates. proposals that will ensure landlords are not hit with the costs of damages done by tenants and those they invite into their homes; ensuring that the Tenancy Tribunal doesn't become an uneven, expensive and time consuming forum through the introduction of professional advocates; clarity around the legal status of a tenancy once the original tenant passes on (inherited tenancies).

The proposed bill was also going to stop real estate agents charging letting fees; this will be reconsidered.

"As Housing Minister, I have to be satisfied that what has been drafted appropriately balances the rights and obligations of both tenants and landlords.

"While I am comfortable with many aspects of the Bill, I am concerned that some specific provisions may deter future provision of private rental housing. This is of particular concern given predicted growth in housing demand.

"Consequently, I have asked that these specific aspects of the Bill be considered with swift and targeted consultation.

"I know tenants and landlords are keenly awaiting reform to tenancy laws and I am determined to return legislation in a timely manner."

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