A new section inserted into the RTA will empower the Tenancy Tribunal, in a limited range of circumstances, to order a landlord to use the services of a licensed residential property manager in any subsequent tenancies if they have committed two or more unlawful acts in five years in cases before the tribunal or the District Court.
It has surprised the Property Investors Federation. Vice-president Peter Lewis says he can see the philosophy behind the change, but the federation believes making a landlord use a property manager if they transgress twice in five years is punitive and not effective.
“We think it should be enforced if a landlord commits two unlawful acts within twelve months. It would sort out the really bad landlords.”
He says the federation doesn’t think the new proposed clause is actually necessary. “Quite draconian penalties of up to $6,000 already exist for landlords who do the wrong thing and act badly.
“If this clause is inserted into the Act, despite our protests, it should be two incidents in twelve months, not two incidents in five years.”
He says a landlord can inadvertently transgress twice in five years. “They are usually not intentionally doing the wrong thing, but may have just slipped up in attending to a landlord’s responsibilities.”
The new proposed clause exempts Kainga Ora and registered community housing providers from the penalty.
Lewis is disappointed. “Kainga Ora has a bad reputation for managing tenants who cause problems in its complexes and also for home owners in the vicinity. It seems inequitable that it is exempt.”
“We have many horror stories about bad management from Kainga Ora. The Government frequently makes changes to the country’s laws but exempt its own departments from having to obey them.
He says the original Residential Tenancies Act 1986, included what was then Housing New Zealand. Since then changes to the Act have exempted Kaianga Ora. These days the Government exempts itself from rules that apply to ordinary people and we see no reason why that should be the case, Lewis says.