Posted by Alice Alipour on December 13 2019 in News

One third of New Zealanders now live in rental properties. If you are a tenant renting in major cities in New Zealand (like Auckland and Wellington) or looking to rent a place, you will be aware of the significant rental rates that landlords are imposing on tenants. 

But no fear. If you have been keeping up with the news (or have completed a weekly news quiz or two on Stuff), you will be aware that recently, Associate Housing Minister Kris Faafoi introduced new changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.

Currently, under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, there are many provisions that appear to favour the landlord over the tenant. For example, a landlord can increase rent just by giving notice to the tenant. They can evict a tenant with 90 days’ notice without any justification. They can also give tenants notice of 42 days’ if the landlord wanted to move into the premises or give vacant possession to a purchaser. Provisions like these are making tenants feel less secure in their home. 

Below are examples of key changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986:

  • Landlords can no longer give 90 days’ notice to tenants without justification. The new legislation will specify circumstances in which a landlord can evict a tenant. If the reason your landlord is offering to evict you is not on that list, you cannot be evicted. Some of the circumstances identified are:
    1. The landlord intends to carry out extensive alterations or redevelopment;
    2. The landlord wants to change the use of the premises;
    3. The premises are to be demolished;
    4. The landlord wants to make the property available for sale within 90 days of the tenant leaving the premises;
    5. The landlord is not the owner of the premises and the landlord’s interest ends; and
    6. The landlord has given notice to the tenant that they are five working days’ late with their rent on three separate occasions within 90 days and the landlord has applied to the Tenancy Tribunal to end the tenancy.
  • Landlords must give tenants longer than 42 days’ notice if they intend to live in the premises or let the premises to their family member. The time period will be extended to 63 days’ notice. It is also required that the landlord or their family member live in the premises for at least 90 days.
  • Landlords cannot increase rent every six months. They can only increase your rent once every 12 months. Landlords and their agents cannot also seek rental bids, which includes advertising premises with no rent specified.  

These changes (and many others) will be introduced to Parliament in early 2020. It is hoped such changes will make renting fairer for tenants and make them feel more secure in their rental premises.

Author: Alice Alipour

This paper gives a general overview of the topics covered and is not intended to be relied upon as legal advice.