Fierce opposition to tenancy proposals

Friday 16 November 2018

Nearly 100% of landlords who completed a simplified tenancy law reform submission form believe it should be possible to buy and sell properties without sitting tenants.

By Miriam Bell

This highlights widespread concerns about the Government’s proposal to increase the tenancy termination notice period from 42 days to 90 days in all circumstances, including the sale of a property, as part of their tenancy law reforms.

But among landlords there is fierce opposition to many of the Government’s proposed reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act.

Stop the War on Tenancies spokesman Mike Butler says this is reflected in the 92-strong take-up rate of a simplified submission form created to make the feedback process easier for landlords.

He says that the proposal to do with requiring purchasers to take on the tenant of any rental property during the sale of a property generated the biggest response from submitters using the form.

“A whopping 98% thought that if a property is being sold, the new owner should be able to request vacant possession of it.

The proposed removal of 90-day notice no-cause terminations also generated strong opposition, with 94% against it, Butler says.

“Many submitters said that landlords never remove a tenant without a cause.

“This misguided proposal is intended to give tenants additional security but would have the effect to sheltering badly-behaving tenants from any consequences.”

Some of the other proposals also prompted staunch disagreement from submitters:

• 92% thought an owner should have the right to refuse pets on their property without giving a reason.
• 78% opposed a ban on fixed-term tenancies, citing little evidence of problems with such tenancies.
• 76% opposed giving tenants the right to make modifications - although 80% were OK with growing plants or vegies in the garden and 66% were OK with hooks for pictures.

However, over half (52%) of submitters were in agreement with the proposal to limit rent increases to once a year.

The submission responses also reveal that many landlords believe tenants should have to take more responsibility for properties they rent, with 89% agreeing with this suggestion (which is not currently one of the official proposals).

Auckland property investor Lily Leung felt compelled to create and circulate the online submission form after she spent eight hours completing the official submission document.

She says the Government’s proposed reforms favour tenants yet the official submission process was so time-consuming it was putting landlords off having their say on the proposed reforms

“I strongly believe in fairness and the proposed changes are biased against landlords, most of whom are honest, hard-working people who are simply investing so that they don’t have to rely on the state in the future.”

It is important for landlords to speak up as much as possible to try and get the Government to listen to their take on tenancy law as it stands and as it should be, Leung says.

To that end, she believes landlords need to share their stories about their experiences in the rental market and with tenants.

“The more we publicise landlords’ experiences and views, hopefully, the more people, and the Government, are likely to realise it is not all about bad landlords: the tenancy relationship goes both ways.”

Leung’s simplified submission form also encouraged respondents to share their stories and the full report on the responses and comments generated can be read here.

Read more:

Reforms would increase rental shortage 

Balance needed in tenancy reforms 

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