Long-awaited tenancy law changes are now official and take effect starting in February next year.
The Government wants to give tenants more security in their rentals, which means landlords have less ability to make quick decisions about ending tenancies. Overall, the changes continue a shift toward more tenant-friendly legislation, which will bring New Zealand in line with other countries. It does make life harder for landlords and increase compliance costs, which is one of the factors that has been driving rents up steadily over the past five or so years.
There are many changes – here are some that you should be aware of:
- You can no longer review the rent every six months for a sitting tenant. The maximum frequency is now 12-monthly. (This does not apply if your tenant leaves and you get a new tenant under a new tenancy agreement.)
- You can no longer terminate a tenancy without cause using a 90-day notice.
- Fixed-term tenancies roll over onto periodic tenancies unless both parties agree otherwise.
- There is a limited number of reasons for which you can end a tenancy without involving the Tenancy Tribunal.
- You must not decline requests made by tenants to make minor changes to your property. For instance, installing a baby gate, new curtains, safety latches, or a video doorbell.
- There is now more documentation required to be provided to tenants and you must keep records.
- Rental bidding is no longer allowed.
- There are far more breaches of the regulations that landlords can make, and the penalties for these breaches are higher.
You can see a full summary of the changes here and find out more.
The procedures to get rid of a tenant, deal with arrears, and cope with anti-social behaviour have all changed; getting any of them wrong could be very expensive. If you’re managing your own property, this is probably a perfect time to hire a professional. To find out about our service or fees, give Gina Colcord our Business Development Manager a call – she’s more than happy to help.
Remember, if you’re already an Impression client, we will be taking care of this for you and making sure your tenancies are compliant. We’ll talk to you about any changes that you need to make well before the new legislation comes into force. Any questions? Get in touch.