New Zealand Tenancy Laws are Changing
In August 2020 we saw the first phase of changes to the Act implemented. Phase 2 of the changes take effect from 11th February 2021. Let’s recap some of these changes:
- Landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants with no cause 90 days’ notice – they will need “specific grounds” to end the tenancy agreement, and the notice periods will change too.
- If a family member of the landlord, or the landlord themselves, wants to live in the house they have to give tenants 63 days’ notice. If the property is being sold, then landlords can give 90 days’ notice.
- If a Landlord wants to evict problematic tenants, Landlords must provide evidence of three separate anti-social events in a 90 day period, or prove their tenant has been more than five working days late on rent on three seperate occassions in 90 days.
- However, there are exceptions: Namely, if tenants are at least 21 days in arrears for rent, if they have caused or threatened to cause “significant” damage, have assaulted or threatened to assault someone, used the house for illegal activity, or abandoned the property.
- Tenants will be allowed to request fibre internet and landlords must agree – if it comes at no additional cost to them. However, this request can be denied if it will compromise the weather-tightness or structural integrity of the property, if it breaches body corporate rules or if the landlord plans to begin extensive renovations within 90 days of the installation.
- Tenants will also be able to request to make minor changes to the property such as hanging curtains or installing a baby gate – and landlords are not allowed to decline if the change is small.
- However, even though a landlord can’t deny minor changes without good reason, they can request changes to be carried out in a certain way. The only way the request can be refused is if the modification cannot be changed back at the end of a tenancy, landlords are able to refuse. The tenant is liable for the make-good cost at the end of the tenancy.
- Rental bidding wars will be outlawed and all properties must be marketed with a price tag. However, renters are still allowed to offer to pay more for a property they want – landlords just can’t instigate it.
- Tenants will be allowed to transfer their “interests and responsibilities” to another person unless there are reasonable grounds for the landlord to decline.
Privacy and documentation
- Tenants will be able to apply for name suppression following a tenancy tribunal hearing to avoid themselves being blacklisted.
- Landlords will be required to keep more thorough documentation of their tenancies – and any landlord who does not provide a written tenancy will be considered unlawful. Documentation of all fees and repair receipts must also be kept ready for presentation to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment if required.
If you have any questions or concerns on how these changes will affect you, please contact your property manager.
If you are not currently with Point and would like us to help you navigate these changes, fill in the form below and a member of our team will be in touch.