Government opens up discussion on proposed residential tenancy reform

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has released a discussion document on the proposed reform of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA), seeking input from interested parties on a number of changes that may significantly strengthen tenant’s rights.

As part of its wider commitment to address the housing crisis in New Zealand, and in response to changing property trends (reduced home ownership and higher numbers of renters renting for longer – often for life), the Government has released a discussion document, seeking feedback on potential changes to the RTA aimed at:

  • balancing tenant security and stability with adequate protection of landlords’ interests
  • promoting good relationships between both parties, and helping renters feel at home
  • modernising the RTA so it can respond better to changing rental trends
  • improving standards of boarding houses and the accountability of their operators

The key proposals are:

  • removal of ‘no cause’ termination of periodic tenancies
  • making the period of notice for all landlord terminations 90 days
  • a restriction on rent increases to one per year
  • a minimum length or perpetual rights of renewal for fixed-term tenancies
  • making it easier for tenants to make modifications to or keep pets in a property
  • a prohibition on rental bidding.

The proposed reforms, although only in the consultation phase, are substantial. In particular, the potential changes to periodic and fixed term tenancies could significantly limit a landlord’s ability to terminate a tenancy, or even to enter into short term tenancy arrangements at all.

MBIE is seeking written submissions from all interested parties by 5pm on Sunday 21 October 2018. This consultation phase is the best time for you to have your say on the impact these changes could have on you.  Submissions can be made online here or you can also email your submission to: RTAreform@mbie.govt.nz.

If you are interested in learning more about the proposals, or would like assistance in making a submission, our team would be happy to help.

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