RTA changes swing favour towards landlords
Tuesday 24 February 2009
Tenants’ advocates are worried the proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) will swing the law in favour of landlords, if three key provisions go through.
By The LandlordKevin Reilly, Manawatu Tenants Union co-ordinator, believes National is giving “more power to the landlords” if:
- Damages are not limited to the amount of bond paid by tenants
- Letting fees fail to be removed
- Funding of tenants’ advocates is slashed.
In relation to damages, both Reilly and Gatonyi believe very few tenants intentionally damage their rental properties.
“What happens is that in the course of normal living they sometimes have an accident. In these cases the proposed amendment to limit the liability of a tenant to the equivalent of four weeks’ bond recognised this,” says Gatonyi.
The two tenant groups also favour the advocacy provisions in the original changes proposed by Labour.
Gatonyi says advocates provide a real answer in helping to address the imbalance of power between landlords and tenants, and in particular between professional property managers and tenants.
“When things go wrong, they really go wrong. A good advocate can help things get on track very quickly, working both with the tenant and the landlord,” she says.
Gatonyi and Reilly also believe advocates would save taxpayer money by keeping cases out of the Tenancy Tribunal.
Reilly argues that tenants fund the tribunal and bond office through payment of bonds and that some of that money should be used to fund advocates.
“Currently there is $5.5 million to $6 million in unclaimed bonds. That could be used to pay tenants’ advocates.”
He is also firmly against letting fees being charged to tenants and believes landlords should pay them.
Comments from our readers
Commenting is closed
Periods of house price decline are rare and "short-lived", says economist Tony Alexander, amid forecasts of a drop of 10%-15% this year.
The Reserve Bank says the commercial property sector is vulnerable to the Covid-19 crisis. But PMG Funds' chief executive believes that while there’ll be short-term pain, the biggest long-term impact will be structural change.
Mortgage lending fell to its lowest level on record last month as the property market ground to a halt during the Covid-19 lockdown.