Residential property landlords won’t be able to increase rents more than once a year under legislation to be introduced to Parliament in the first half of 2020.
Associate Housing Minister Kris Faafoi has announced a reform of the Residential Tenancies Act that will strengthen renters’ rights. The key proposed changes mean:
- Landlords will not be able to end a periodic tenancy without a reason. The legislation will set out specified reasons that a landlord may use to end a periodic tenancy.
- Fixed-term tenancies will become periodic tenancies at the end of the fixed term. This applies unless the landlord and tenant agree otherwise, the tenant gives notice, or the landlord gives notice using one of the specified reasons.
- Tenants will be able to add minor fittings to their premises where the installation and removal of the fittings is low risk.
- The Regulator will have new compliance tools to take direct action against parties who are not meeting their obligations.
- The penalty amounts will be increased in line with rental increases since 2006, when the penalty amounts were set.
- Soliciting rental bids, for example, by advertising a property without a rental price, will be prohibited.
- The minimum period between rent increases will be raised from six months to 12 months.
- A party who is successful in the Tenancy Tribunal can have their identifying details removed from the Tribunal’s decision.
“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.
“Our changes are balanced, providing certainty to both parties about their respective roles and responsibilities.
“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.
“These reforms deliver on the Coalition Government’s promise to address out-dated rules for rental accommodation, and are part of our plan to improve wellbeing for many new Zealanders who rent their homes.
“These changes complete the package of improvements for rental markets that were planned for the Coalition Government’s first term and which also include banning of letting fees and introducing a healthy homes standard to ensure all rental accommodation is warm and dry.”
More information can be found here.