How does the Residential Tenancies Amendment act 2020 affect you?

The New Zealand Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020 is now in force. What does that mean for tenants and landlords?

20 September 2020

How does the Residential Tenancies Amendment act 2020 affect you?
How does the Residential Tenancies Amendment act 2020 affect you?

Overview

Following Royal Assent on 11 August 2020, the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020 came into force on 12th August 2020.

The amendments are broad and will affect both tenants and landlords. These changes will roll out over 3 phases.

Rent Increases

Rent increases are limited to once every 12 months. This is a change from once every 180 days (six months).
There continues to be a freeze on rent increases. This means landlords cannot increase rent until after 25 September 2020.
Any rent increase notices given to tenants from 12 August must comply with the new 12-month rule.

Security of rental tenure

Landlords will not be able to end a periodic tenancy without cause by providing 90 days’ notice. New termination grounds will be available to landlords under a periodic tenancy and the required notice periods have changed.

Changes for fixed-term tenancies

All fixed-term tenancy agreements will convert to periodic tenancies at the end of the fixed-term unless the parties agree otherwise, the tenant gives a 28-day notice, or the landlord gives notice in accordance with the termination grounds for periodic tenancies.

Making minor changes

Tenants can ask to make changes to the property and landlords must not decline if the change is minor. Landlords must respond to a tenant’s request to make a change within 21 days.

Prohibitions on rental bidding

Rental properties cannot be advertised without a rental price listed, and landlords cannot invite or encourage tenants to bid on the rental (pay more than the advertised rent amount).

Fibre broadband

Tenants can request to install fibre broadband, and landlords must agree if it can be installed at no cost to them, unless specific exemptions apply.

Privacy and access to justice

A suppression order can remove names and identifying details from published Tenancy Tribunal decisions if a party who has applied for a suppression order is wholly or substantially successful, or if this is in the interests of the parties and the public interest.

Assignment of tenancies

All requests to assign a tenancy must be considered. Landlords cannot decline unreasonably. If a residential tenancy agreement prohibits assignment, it is of no effect.

Landlord records

Not providing a tenancy agreement in writing will be an unlawful act and landlords will need to retain and provide new types of information.

Changes to tenancy tribunal jurisdiction

The Tenancy Tribunal can hear cases and make awards up to $100,000. This is a change from $50,000.

Family violence

Tenants who experience family violence will be able to withdraw from a fixed-term or periodic tenancy without financial penalty by giving two days’ notice and evidence of the family violence. If they are the only tenant, the tenancy will end.

Physical assault

A landlord will be able to issue a 14-day notice to terminate the tenancy if the tenant has assaulted the landlord, the owner, a member of their family, or the landlord’s agent, and the Police have laid a charge against the tenant in respect of the assault.

Conclusion

If you’re worried about where you stand with your tenants or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Greg is more than happy to have a chat, so give him a call on 06 353 7274.

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