Meares Williams Lawyers, Christchurch and Canterbury

Reform of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986


By: Kate Warren
Published: 24/09/2020
Reform of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986

The reform of this legislation is intended to modernise New Zealand’s rental laws, to promote good faith relationships and to ensure there are appropriate protections in place for both tenants and landlords. 

Home ownership rates have declined and with an estimated 617,800 households in the rental market, whether you are a landlord or tenant, it is very important to understand recent and upcoming changes to the Residential Tenancies Act that may affect you.     

The first change that came into effect on 12 August 2020 prevents landlords from increasing the rent more than once in every 12 month period. 

From 11 February 2021 there will also be further changes, including:

1.    Landlords will not be able to end periodic tenancies with 90 days’ notice without cause. 
    
Landlords will need to have a valid reason that is acceptable under the Act. Some examples of valid reasons include:
    •    the landlord requiring the property to live in;
    •    the landlord being obliged to provide vacant possession to a purchaser; or
    •    if extensive alterations to the property are to be undertaken. The landlord must take material steps towards beginning renovations within 90 days of the tenancy terminating.
    
A fixed term tenancy will automatically turn into a periodic tenancy at the expiry of the fixed term unless the tenant and landlord both agree otherwise.

2.    Rental properties must be advertised with the rental price listed in order to prohibit rental bidding. Landlords will not be able to encourage tenants to bid on the rental for a property.

3.    Tenants will be able to request to make minor changes, at their own cost, to the property. Examples of minor changes are: brackets to secure furniture against earthquake risk, baby proofing the property, installing visual fire alarms and doorbells. The Tenants must return the premises to substantially the same condition at the end of the tenancy by removing the changes unless it is agreed otherwise.

4.    Tenants will be able to request fibre broadband be installed and landlords must agree provided there is no cost to the landlord.

5.    The Tenancy Tribunal will be able to hear cases and make awards up to $100,000 (currently $50,000).

February 2021 will be here before we know it and for this reason we encourage you to contact us with any queries or concerns you might have in respect of your Tenancy, existing, or proposed purchase of a rental investment property. 

Kate Warren
(Associate Solicitor – Meares Williams Lawyers)

The information in this brief article is a summary only and does not constitute legal advice. Meares Williams Lawyers do not accept any liability to you or anyone else for doing something, or omitting to do something, on the information provided above. 
 


Disclaimer

The information in this brief article is a summary only and does not constitute legal advice. Meares Williams Lawyers do not accept any liability to you or anyone else for doing something, or omitting to do something, on the information provided above.
Kate Warren

Meares Williams Staff

Kate Warren

Associate

Kate joined Meares Williams in January 2016 and graduated from the University of Canterbury in April 2016 and was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in July 2016.

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