Landlords and renters are facing the largest shake-up of tenancy law in more than 30 years as a raft of changes come into force tomorrow.
Under the new laws, rental bidding and ending a tenancy with 90 days' notice will no longer be allowed, while enforcement measures have been ramped up.
Andrew Bruce has been a landlord for more than 20 years and in that time, he’s only had a handful of problematic tenants.
But now, new rules from tomorrow will make it much harder for Bruce to evict them, making him more cautious with the tenants he chooses.
“I think it's really going to affect the more vulnerable tenants who unfortunately will probably end up having to start relying more on the social housing type providers which is, I don’t think, a great outcome,” Bruce said.
The Government is aiming to make tenancy laws fairer for all involved from tomorrow by ending no-cause terminations with 90 days’ notice. In some situations, ending a tenancy has to be ordered by the Tenancy Tribunal.
Landlords also cannot decline a tenant’s request to make a minor change, paid for at the renter’s expense.
Properties must also be advertised with a price listed, and prospective tenants cannot offer to pay more.
The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has also been provided with more enforcement powers, and maximum fines from the Tenancy Tribunal have increased.
The Tenants Protection Association’s Penny Arthur said she understood the changes were “quite confronting” for many people.
“They aren’t what they would like to see but often then, people do sort of sit down and look at their own situation and make their own choice,” Arthur said.
She says the discrimination of some prospective tenants remains an issue.
The Government does not believe the problem will increase with the rollout of the new rules, however, with Associate Housing Minister Poto Williams saying the new rules “provides some fairness in the system all around”.
“I think that most landlords will use this as an opportunity to recognise that this actually will build some consistency for them in terms of continuation of rental income,” she said.
Concerns have since been raised around how the changes will work in practice.
We've seen it written down on paper but we don't know in reality how that's going to translate," Auckland Property Investors’ Association president Kristin Sutherland said.
“What will a minor change be? We don't know that detail yet.”
Laws for ending tenancies in dangerous situations are set to come into force in August.