• Sarah Minotti

Rental Reforms - Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament

Yesterday the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill was introduced to Parliament. The Bill was originally announced on 17 November 2019 by Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Kris Faafoi. He said "This Bill includes a series of reforms to improve the wellbeing of the 609,700 households that live in rented homes, and they provide a balance between the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords".

The proposed changes include:

· Landlords will not be able to end a periodic tenancy without a reason. Specific allowable reasons that a landlord may use to end a periodic tenancy will be set out under the Bill.

· Fixed-term tenancies will become periodic tenancies at the end of a fixed term agreement. This will be the default. Another approach may be used if the landlord and tenant agree or the tenant or landlord give notice.

· Tenants will be able to add minor fittings to their house where the installation and removal of the fittings is low risk. *Picture hooks and a cat door here I come! *

· Soliciting rental bids will be prohibited. For example, advertising a property without a rental price and seeing the highest amount someone is willing to pay for it.

· The minimum period between rent increases will be raised from six months to twelve months.

· A party who is successful in the Tenancy Tribunal can have their identifying details removed from the Tribunal’s decision.

This last point is really important as most landlords and property managers do a check of a prospective tenant on the Tenancy Tribunal website as part of their due diligence. Rightly or wrongly, prospective tenants who have approached the Tenancy Tribunal can sometimes be seen as 'difficult' or 'risky' to property managers or landlords so will be avoided.

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