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Landlord organisations mount challenge to new rental rules

Two organisations representing 20,000 landlords and real estate professionals are uniting to challenge the government's proposed changes to rental rules.

A file image of a rental sign. Source: Photos.com

The Real Estate Institute and Property Investors' Federation said they were concerned about proposed changes to 90-day notice rules for ending tenancies, in the Residential Tenencies Act.

As it stands, landlords can kick out renters with an open-ended tenancy without having to provide any reason, as long as they give 90 days' notice.

"We understand that the RTA needs to be reviewed, but it's imperative we get the balance right between tenants' rights and the rights of the owners of investment property," said Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at REINZ.

"The proposals outlined by the government, particularly in relation to the 90-day notice, feel as if they're eroding the rights of the owner too much and we feel more balance is needed here.

"Our preferred approach would be to see higher exemplary damages for landlords who abuse no-cause terminations in order to penalise them and act as a disincentive."

Under the proposed new regime, if landlords want to evict a tenant for bad behaviour or for not paying rent, they would first have to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal with proof of three examples over three months.

"Both organisations are extremely concerned that the proposed changes to the no-cause 90-day notice will mean owners effectively can't control who lives in their property, and in some cases this could impact directly on neighbours," said Andrew King, Executive Officer at NZ Property Investors' Federation.

"We believe this change will cause investors to leave the market, pushing up rental prices even further for tenants who are already struggling to pay the rent."

Both organisations said they were happy to support the proposals to limit rent rises to once every 12 months, banning landlords from rental bidding.

-rnz.co.nz