Homing in: Fairer rules for tenants and landlords

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The Government plans to draft a Bill to amend the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, which will be introduced to Parliament in the first half of 2020.

Delivering on its promise to over one million New Zealanders who now rent, Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Kris Faafoi announced that both renters and landlords will benefit from the suite of practical changes to the Residential Tenancies Act that sit alongside the Government’s previous improvements to renting, including the banning of letting fees and the Healthy Homes Guarantee.

The key changes include:

–       Limit rent increases to once every 12 months and banning the solicitation of rental bids by landlords.

–       Improve tenant’s security by removing a landlord’s right to use no cause terminations to end a periodic tenancy agreement.

–       Making rental properties safer and more liveable by letting tenants add minor fittings such as brackets to secure furniture against earthquake risk, to baby proof the property, install visual fire alarms and doorbells, and hang pictures.

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

“With more and more people renting, the law should provide enough security to responsible renters to put down roots in their community,” Faafoi said. “Greater security of tenancy and less regular rent increases, coupled with the ability to make minor improvements, mean renters will be better placed to make their house a home.

One third of all New Zealanders now rent and not having access to liveable homes mean families are forced to continually move house, damaging their children’s education by constantly changing schools.

“We understand that landlords require clear guidelines, which help them protect their investment and assist them in their dealings with difficult tenants and the law ensures this. If a tenant acts irresponsibly there can be repercussions,” said Faafoi.

Photo courtesy: newzealandnow.govt.nz
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