Government Bill puts neighbours at risk - 17 February 2020

The Government has today released a new Bill aimed at improving the lives of tenants.

“One aspect will only make it easier for antisocial tenants to ruin the lives of their neighbours. Another will allow tenants to decide if they will stay at a rental property even if the landlord wants to end the tenancy,” says Andrew King, Executive Officer of the NZ Property Investors’ Federation (NZPIF). “The NZPIF has joined forces with the REINZ in opposing these two aspects of the Bill.”

Proponents of changes to 90-day notice provisions say that landlords are kicking out good tenants for no reason and abolishing this will improve tenants’ security. But why would a landlord kick out a good tenant?

There is always a good reason to issue a 90-day notice. It is often used as a tool of last resort to end a badly performing tenancy. Currently if a tenant is showing antisocial behaviour affecting neighbours, a landlord can end the tenancy without having to reveal which neighbour complained.

Under the new Bill, neighbours will have to complain three times about antisocial behaviour. They then have to put themselves at further risk by providing evidence that the landlord can use at the Tenancy Tribunal to get permission to issue a 90-day notice for the tenancy to end.

Rather than provide security of tenure for all tenants, this Bill improves security for the few antisocial tenants.

While many people believe that this Bill only affects landlords and tenants, it actually affects those who live next door or might, at some stage, live next door to antisocial tenants.

Another aspect of the Bill gives tenants the power to stay on in their rental at the end of a fixed term tenancy, even if the landlord doesn’t want this to happen.

This will have a major impact on student rentals, often organised in the middle of the year for the following year, and on marginal tenants.

Landlords will often offer risky tenants a fixed term tenancy of six months or a year to give them a go. If it works out then the tenancy continues, but if the tenant behaves badly then the tenancy can stop at the end of the fixed term. If this Bill becomes law, the tenant will be able to override the landlord and continue living in the property.

A number of our members have said that they are no longer likely to use the fixed term tenancy option and would rather keep their rental empty than take on a risky tenant.

Instead of implementing these two measures, the NZ Property Investors’ Federation has suggested a new long term tenancy based on the German tenancy model. This would offer true security to all tenants rather than just antisocial ones.

 
 
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