New Zealand Property Investors' Federation, (NZPIF) is the umbrella body for 20 local Property Investors' Associations throughout New Zealand.

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Email: www@nzpif.org.nz

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07-10-2018

NZPIF template for RTA submission

SUBMISSION TO THE PROPOSED REFORM OF THE RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES ACT (RTA)

  1. INTRODUCTION

My name is <Your name> and I have been a residential landlord for <insert years>

(Choose any of the following issues that you would like to comment on. Try to be brief and include your opinion on the proposal using your own experiences and thoughts to back up your opinion.)

2.1. Improving security for tenants

Proposals are

  • Removing 90 day no reason notices to end a tenancy
  • Allowing tenants to cancel a fixed term tenancy if their circumstances change
  • Giving tenants the right to renew a fixed term tenancy even if the landlord doesn’t want to
  • Removing fixed term tenancies completely and changing periodic tenancies to “open ended tenancies” with restrictions on landlords being able to end the tenancy
  • Removing the option to end a tenancy so a property can be sold
  • Only allowing buyers of a rental property to end a tenancy if the buyer is moving into the property

There are two issues here; the 90 day no cause notice to end a tenancy and ways that landlords can improve security of tenure for their tenants.

What have been your experience with 90 day no reason notices, why are they important to retain and what are your concerns if they are removed?

Under the proposals, increasing tenant’s security corresponds with landlords losing some of their rights. Why do you think this is a bad idea, what do you think would be the ramifications and unforeseen circumstances? How long are some of your longest tenancies and what do you think could encourage you to provide more security for tenants?

Removal of the 42-day termination notice

Currently, landlords who wish to sell their properties or move back into them have to give 42-days’ notice to terminate. This has been abused by some landlords to give a shorter notice period than the usual 90 day notice.

Describe how you would be affected if these exceptions are removed and all terminations require a 90-day notice.

Do you think it would make home owner purchasers less likely to buy a property that is currently rented?

Giving tenants the right to make reasonable alteration/modification to the rental property

Currently tenants need permission to make alterations to their rentals, but a landlord is not allowed to unreasonably refuse permission.

Possible issues include: Do you think that there are specific reasonable modifications that tenants should be able to do as of right because they are reasonable?  Do you think there should be a time limit for landlords to provide approval for modifications? What do you think would be acceptable to you and what would concern you about tenants making minor alterations to their rentals? How do you ensure quality of the modifications?

Allowing tenants to keep a pet as of right

At present, tenants are only allowed pets at the rental property with landlords’ consent. While it is often acknowledged by industry studies that pet-owning tenants tend to stay longer at a rental property and pay slightly more in rent, the Osaka ruling makes landlords who host pets vulnerable to additional costs relating to remedying damages to the property caused by these pets.

Describe how you would be affected if you have no control over whether your tenants can own pets.

Possible issues include: the disclosure/registration of pets at your rental property, whether a pet-bond or additional cleaning requirements on pet owning tenants would be equitable, whether a pet-bond should be charged per pet or per tenancy, your insurance costs/obligations etc.

Enforcement

The discussion document asks if the enforcement of tenancy laws be made more effective and efficient. Unfortunately, the proposals are all aimed at enforcing tenants issues, not landlords.

The NZPIF believes that the penalties for the following unlawful acts should be increased:

  • Using the premises for unlawful purpose $1,000 to $3,000.
  • Subletting $1,000 to $3,000.
  • Abandonment of premises $1,000 to $4,000.

The NZPIF believes that the following breaches should be deemed unlawful acts

  • Not paying the rent
  • Stopping paying rent as soon as a tenant gives notice to end the tenancy
  • Keeping a pet when prohibited by the tenancy agreement
  • Having more occupants than the tenancy agreement allows.

Comment on these if you like or any other issues you believe need addressing

Addressing other issues

Are you aware of other tenancy issues not raised by the Discussion Document which, in your opinion, is fundamental to the modernisation of tenancy laws in New Zealand and facilities a fairer outcome for both landlords and tenants.

One example is to call for a more streamlined process to address rent arrears. Should there be faster access to the tenancy tribunal for rent arrears? The NZPIF has proposed that a new administration section should be established to handle rent arrears, which are factual in nature. This would speed up resolution to rent arrears issues and leave more Tribunal time for other disputes.

Are there other issues that you think need to be addressed? What problems are you experiencing that you would like to be addressed?

Submitting your submission

You can either email your submission to RTAreform@mbie.govt.nz,

Or post to:    Residential Tenancies Act Reform

                         Housing and Urban Branch 

                         Building Resources Markets 

                         Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

                         PO Box 1473

                         Wellington 6140

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