Landlords need relief from outdated rental act

Thursday 4 November 2004

Press Release: United Future NZ Party

By The Landlord

The coming review of the Residential Tenancies Act was applauded today by United Future’s Marc Alexander, who has long championed the rights of landlords to a better deal.

“It’s great news to see the Government finally decide to review the RTA,” he said. Mr Alexander has revealed a string of instances where tenants have trashed rental properties.

“The current legislation is grossly out-of-date and harks back to an era when landlords were looked upon as evil and greedy with the power to make or break families. It was a wrong image then … it’s a wrong image today.


“Landlords are, for the most part, hardworking providers of a much-needed service who are unfairly targeted by a very small number of serial-offending tenants, while being given virtually no reasonable legal protection for their considerable investments.”Chief among the inequities are:

• While the Act specifies what tenants must do there is no provision of offences if the conditions are breached. Meanwhile, sections 12, 17, 18, 19, 23, 27, 29, 30, 48 and 137 contain offences against the landlord with fines or imprisonment provisions. Surely there should be an equivalent set of obligations and penalties on both tenant and landlord?

• Why can a landlord be fined $750 for taking more than four weeks bond or lodging it after 23 days, but a tenant who effectively does the same thing by being in arrears gets a 21-day grace period and faces no punishable offence?

• It is ridiculous that in the event of an abandoned property, the landlord is held liable for non-perishable possessions left behind.

• Why aren’t false references considered an offence for both the tenant and whoever provided the reference and why isn’t it punishable by a fine? In no other transaction of goods and services is a provider so disadvantaged by law. How does it make sense that a tenant’s failure to pay either bond or rent with a bounced cheque does not negate a rental agreement?

“The sad fact is that landlords are fed up with being treated as a renewable resource,” Mr Alexander said.

“Those that are determined to grind down landlords conveniently overlook the reality that ultimately, it is the good tenants who suffer! It is they who will pay the price of what the few bad tenants (encouraged by bad legislation and a toothless tribunal process), get away with!”
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