Landlords barred from increasing residential rents for the next 6 months; Tenancies can't be terminated during lock-down period without agreement; Tenants given more leeway for late rent payments

Landlords barred from increasing residential rents for the next 6 months; Tenancies can't be terminated during lock-down period without agreement; Tenants given more leeway for late rent payments

Landlords are being barred from increasing residential rents for the next six months, under urgent COVID-19 legislation being passed.

Tenancies can't be terminated during the lock-down period, unless both landlords and tenants agree, or in limited circumstances.

Fixed-term tenancies will convert to periodic tenancies upon the expiry of the fixed term, unless parties agree otherwise or the tenant gives notice.

Tenants who had previously given notice to leave can remain in the property they’re renting during the lock-down.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern flagged these rule changes on Monday. More detail has now been provided - some of which is more extensive than previously signalled.

For example, landlords could previously terminate tenancies if tenants’ rental payments were 21 days late. Now, they can only make this termination after 60 days.

Other grounds for termination are substantial damage to the premises, significant antisocial behaviour, and assault or threatening behaviour towards the landlord.

These tenancy termination rules will apply for three months, but could be extended.

The measures take effect within the next 24 hours.

If a landlord had already given a rent-increase or termination notice that will come into effect after today, this notice is of no effect. IE the rent increase or termination won’t be able to happen.

Tenants will still be able to terminate tenancies as usual, although they’re being encouraged not to, unless absolutely necessary, and to think about whether they are managing the risk of spreading COVID-19 in doing so.

A failure to comply with the new law could see people fined up to $6,500 by the Tenancy Tribunal.

Housing Minister Megan Woods also noted that having COVID-19 isn't grounds for a landlord to terminate a tenancy.

She said a tenant isn't required to notify their landlord if they test positive for COVID-19. But she encourages tenants to advise their landlords of this to protect them if they visit the property to do urgent repairs for example.

Support for landlords with mortgages, was announced on Tuesday. Retail banks will in coming days provide details around a six-month mortgage payment holiday for those whose incomes have been affected by COVID-19.

“Sustaining tenants in their current homes will help prevent further pressure on our welfare system at this time,” Woods said.

“These changes will ensure that people can stay in their homes during this challenging time. This enables families and individuals to self-isolate, to stay home and maintain physical distancing, supporting the public health of all New Zealanders.

“It also means that in the short term, families and individuals who are tenants do not lose their home due to a drop in income related to job losses through Covid-19.

“It is not acceptable for tenants to abuse the current situation by refusing to pay rent when they have the capacity to do so, causing significant property damage, or significant anti-social behaviour. Tenants are still fully liable for their rent payments and any damage as we ensure that Landlords do not increase the burden on tenants.

“The measures we have proposed try to balance protection of the interests of tenants, landlords, and the wider community during this unprecedented time.

“In these unprecedented times, we encourage landlords to talk to their tenants, work together and take care of each other wherever possible. Parties should try to come to an arrangement that suits them both. We need to work together and help each other to fight Covid-19."

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11
up

Good move. We’re about to head into economic crisis mode, and renters don’t need any price increases that’s for damn sure.
Look what’s happening with gold already:
“The gold market in New York is facing a historic squeeze as the global pandemic chokes off physical trading routes at the same time that investors are piling into the metal as a safe haven.”
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-24/scramble-for-gold-sen...

Are you holding gold?

Yes, have had for over a year, in a third party vault. Wouldn’t keep it in a bank vault (cos if there’s a crisis it could be frozen). Also have substantial “paper gold” GLD etf, but I hope that doesn’t turn to custard tbh. It’s backed by physical gold, all of which is supposedly accounted for and safely in a London vault.

If you own GLD, I would consider selling it. Custodian is HSBC and actual physical audit is not very transparent. I sold mine 3 weeks ago and shifted to Perth Mint (PMGOLD).

Yeah I know. Always planned to liquidate the GLD in stages during the next market correction (which I suspected was not far away) to buy cheap stocks as equities and gold go in opposite directions. Bit soon for that but it’s up significantly from where I bought. Bloody HSBC...

"Nor is a tenant required to notify their landlord if they test positive for Covid-19."

Oh, just peachy. So on a routine inspection, the landlord, agent, delegate or frankly any casual visitor (deliveries?) or tradie (plumber coming to un-gum the loo or appliance repairer come to fix the mandatory heat-pump) could well pick up the Dreaded Lurgi.....

Whatever happened to Test, Trace, Test some more??? Best to therefore treat all tenants as WuFlu carriers.....

15
up

Do you not understand what a lock down is? I suggest you do some more research.

So, a landlord sending in a tradie (essential business for the health and well-being of the tenant....) for an urgent fix is not gonna be able to advise them of very basic Elfin Safety contexts...... As I surmised, it will quickly result in all tenants being assumed to be Posidive.....

Can I get a trade person to come and do essential maintenance at my house?
Yes, if this is essential to maintain the necessities of life or critical to safety. This includes electricians, plumbers and builders.

So they may be required to enter a house without knowing the occupants have Covid-19. Sounds BS to me.

Perhaps they could ask the occupants before entering, since they will be there on lockdown?
Most people would volunteer that information if they had it anyway. The real risk is entering houses of people that have it, but don't know it (yet).

The Op stated"Nor is a tenant required to notify their landlord if they test positive for Covid-19."

So if the landlord asks on behalf of the tradie they are arranging to fix an urgent matter (e.g. burst pipe) is the tenant legally required to tell them they have Covid-19 if they no they are infected?

The tradie can ask the tenant directly..

And is the tenant legally required to answer with the truth?

I would say so, bound to be some sort of public health law about knowingly exposing people to infectious diseases.

Probably important to bear in mind that it's a mild disease for most people, and most of us will probably get it. The real nightmare is giving it to someone over 60 who isn't so resilient.

so if a tenant does not pay they cant get kicked out for three months

Yep, then you can bankrupt them and evict if they don't pay. Some drop kicks may take this as a chance to game the system but they are probably judgement proof (i.e. bums) so begs the question why were you renting to them.

Just to clarify, gaming the system is the behaviour of a drop kick and only "bums" behave this way?

Therefore a decent upstanding human being with high ethical ideals doesn't game the system?

Gaming the system by taking this disaster as an opportunity not to pay rent when you are able to makes you a shit human being. Do you think such a person is a good person?

11
up

As a renter, this news is very reassuring in these uncertain times. To be booted out of the place we call home at ~45 days notice would be stressful at the best of times!

Great name

Haha thanks.

Great.
So there's help for owners, and help for renters.

Finally renters can get pregnant and maybe even give shelter to a vulnerable person without fear of eviction. Long overdue. I wonder how a National Govt woukd have coped in this situation? They certainly didn't do very well with Chch quakes, Pike or Kaikoura Quakes...too narrow minded and miserable.

16
up

I think it would help the common cause of decency, health, and dignity, if both tenants and property owners backed away from painting each other as money grabbing bas***rds or lazy low life losers, in most cases neither is true.

Great comment !

I hope when this is over there's plenty of house's for everyone to rent and buy and we can stop talking about houses. It has just descended into people slaggging of the people they think are responsible, without adding any real Value to the discussion.

Great comment!

True.

Trouble is I have a tenancy dispute half way through(I won the first part of the process) but received notice today the hearing in May is cancelled.

Tough been in business ah - have you thought of your fellowmen who may have bigger issues than yours at the moment? Actually don't answer that - its obvious what your main priorities are.

You are assuming Scarfie is a landlord. I am not sure he/she is.
Scarfie can answer that.

Sadly it is a situation where I got conned by someone I thought as a friend. My fault to a degree. Frazz is right though, I have better things to focus on. Just doing it as a matter of principle, and thought the information would be relevant to these pages :-)

Happens often to the best of us unfortunately
Been there, done that
Good luck

Home owners are still getting a better deal.
How owner loses job - they can get a mortgage holiday.
Tenant loses their job - they can't get a rental holiday.

Still much more security for home owners.

If a tenant gets a 6 month rent holiday what's the chances of getting that money, plus interest back after the 6 months?

A home owner's house is security for them paying the amount back.

Very big difference in circumstances.

Three of my tenants have been given notice of rent increases, this was done 2 weeks ago. 2 of them have not had increase in over a year the third has not had an increase in over 3 years. I am not happy. The government is using Covid 19 to push their agendas.

21
up

R U kidding me!

11
up

Com'on HTP, have a bit of decency

I have been very decent, no rent increase for 3 1/2 years proves this, I have also spent most of my day working with tenants including commercial tenants to help them over the next month. My point is this government is pushing through things that meet their left-wing agenda and it is all under the guise of Cover 19.

Are you The Man 2 evil twin? You have such big heart but your timing is shit!

That was always going to happen.

It's no coincidence they made the lockdown same night as RTA submissions on proposals cut off.

They could've made the lockdown tomorrow night.

Does this seem like a good time, you reckon?

"Push their agenda"
Yes you right

You’re what they call a piece of “insert meme here”

Believe it or not our rent increases were to take effect from the 27th which is only two days away. I am gonna wait and see how many automatically pay the increase because a tenant can voluntarily pay it if I dont demand the increase. I will happily take the money if they give it to me

A month or so ago my property manager advised they were going to put up the rent by $20 on a property where the lease was coming up for renewal. Often it is not the owner suggesting it but the property management, just doing their job. The beauty of having a proxy to do the dirty work for you I guess. I sat on it for a couple of weeks. Interest rates were going down but the property was costing a lot in maintenance and I had just installed a new ventilation fan and a heat pump and done numerous repairs. In the end I advised to not raise the rent due to the state of world affairs.

I will keep in touch with the property manager who is the first point of contact with the tenant to monitor any change of circumstances with the tenants. If the government is assisting them then things should be okay. A delay in the rent being paid wont be a problem but there are mortgages to be paid on the property. Reducing the rent to the level of cost for the duration would be a possibility which would be about $100 a week less. A lot of landlords don't make all that much after expenses, it being a long term project to get significantly cash flow positive after many years of scrimping and working overtime.

Has anybody seen this report from the Takanini Times:

There may be a Rent Freeze from today but have the authorities been outsmarted by Landlords?

The landlord may not be able increase the rent but it's understood he can exact a 'tribute in kind'. This a law that has its roots in the Magna Carta of the thirteenth century and, funnily enough, has never been expunged from our common law. I have heard that some landlords' associations, the Auckland ones at least, are considering invoking this law from today.
"It has taken ten years of research by the Law Society to wade through seven centuries of case law in Norman French to finally be able to present a modern interpretation of this statute formulated in the reign of King John" said Mr Jasper Cuesee President of the Barristers division of the Law Society.

When asked what the essence of the resurrected law, 'payment in kind', would entail in practical terms Mr Cuesee said it would require the tenant to perform gardening and maintenance to the landlord's property in the weekends from dawn to dusk for the term of the rent freeze.

Tenants' organizations are understandably angry and upset at this blatant attempt to circumvent the new regulations. "This would take us back to the feudal times of Lords and serfs" responded John Downcast, head of the Remuera Tenant's Association.

We will be closely following this development.

Fucken lawyers. Pompous gits with snouts in the trough.

Err, I think it was a joke...and quite amusing and well-written it was too. I mean, come on, you didn't believe there is such a person as "Jasper Cuesee" did you?!

Yep see below. I only skimmed it and didn't pay attention to the 'names'. Quite funny

A neighbour has a few old falling down slum rentals which he only rents to single men alcoholics and drug addicts. No single mothers or students. He doesn't do any of the legislation and never will, or any maintenance. If they break windows the windows stay broken or tenants can put cardboard over. The rentals are below market rent but not by that much

He currently has such an arrangement for payment in kind based on several thousand dollars arrears. He's had the tenant waterblasting his roof and painting. The former tenant now lives in his car so he might earn his way back who knows.

A former MP had solo mothers committing benefit fraud by having partners stay over. In both cases the tenants lived in fear of being found out, only paid rent in cash, generally below market rent. Win win.

Isn't that what darklords want? A time shift back to serfdom...

Maybe but it's a business strategy to provide accommodation to a certain clientele and done it for 20 years and never has a shortage of those clients.

This is exactly what the neighbour is doing... dawn to dusk. That tenant is up there about 12 hours a day.

"responded John Downcast"
Downcast?! Proper name or adjective? I say adjective.

He's obviously a DGM eh.

Oh I get it now Streetwise. Nice work.
Cuesee, Haha!
Downcast, ha! Of the *Remuera* Tenant's Ass.

entirely possibile to demand a tribute under old english law but also equally possible for the tenant to demand a duel to settle the debt. Either with rapiers or loaded muskets at 40 paces. Now shall we?

It's a perfect opportunity for landlords to show real compassion. Reduce the rent steeply, maybe put some of the rent aside into a trust fund for tenants to drawdown come a rainy day

how about giving the l/l's a break and bash the banks. allow people to break off their fix terms without penalty. after all we are in exceptional times. cost of money has come way down.

Or sell off their assets

Or sell off their assets

If you are a landlord pushing for rent increase at this time, you deserved a welcoming mat at gate of hell..

Yes heartless but as I said above we had notices issued long before this started to go crazy. It didnt need to happen like this but the powers that be failed in their duty. So now many many people will be distraught at losing their job and being unemployed. And some will just say F it and end it all. THANKS ALOT GOVERNMENT! I have spent hours today running around to organise accommodation for french backpackers many of whom are stranded in nz for the time being and others who cannot be out in their vehicles

L/Ls who don't pay capital gains tax shouldn't expect to get taxpayer support to preserve their investments. If they have a problem with that they can always sell their houses to consolidate their portfolio and put people's lives ahead of their assets bases

Landlords have been structuring so they pay no tax for years haven't they?

Ha ha, liked that correlation.. ban rent hikes, as per frozen local council rate hikes freeze instruction. Try this after Covid-19 event, rate can hike, but rent must frozen - Naa, since, all those Landlords, investors will be in drove to Gun city or hardware stores.. the next day - to do the damage on those Beehive members. (no pun intended)

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