Tenancy reform submissions due March 25
Wednesday 26 February 2020
Worried about the government’s tenancy law reforms? You’d better speak up soon because there’s under a month to make a submission on the legislation.
By Miriam Bell
The controversial Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill passed its first reading in Parliament, and was referred to the Social Services and Community Select Committee, on February 20.
Social Services and Community Committee chair Gareth Hughes has now called for people to start making submissions on the Bill - because the submission period ends at midnight on 25 March 2020.
Both the NZ Property Investors Federation (NZPIF) and REINZ are encouraging rental property owners to speak up about their concerns about the Bill.
That’s because a number of the proposed reforms contained in the Bill are considered to be extremely problematic.
One of these is the removal of a landlord’s right to use “no cause” terminations to end a periodic tenancy agreement.
The other is the requirement that fixed-term tenancy agreements become periodic tenancy agreements upon expiry unless both parties agree otherwise.
Some of the other proposed reforms include:
• Making rental properties safer and more liveable by letting tenants add minor fittings such as brackets to secure furniture against earthquake risk, to baby proof the property, install visual fire alarms and doorbells, and hang pictures.
• Improving compliance with the law by increasing financial penalties and introducing new tools to take direct action against parties who are not meeting their obligations. It also allows for identifying details to be anonymised in situations where a party has been wholly or substantially successful in their case.
• Banning rental bidding and limiting rental increases to once a year.
The NZPIF’s new executive officer, Sharon Cullwick, says they know the government wants to try and get the legislation through before the election.
But they are hopeful that the Select Committee might be more receptive to suggested changes than the Minister responsible, Kris Faafoi, has been to date, she says.
“We need to get all landlords, and other people, behind us and our battle against the planned reforms. It’s hugely important as they will have a major impact on people, and not just landlords. So we are encouraging as many landlords as possible to make submissions on the proposed reforms.”
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