Sunday, April 21, 2024

New renting rules rolled out

The Government has unveiled its proposals to regulate the residential property management sector in order to make things fairer for renters and landlords. 

Measures including a new licensing regime requiring residential property managers to comply with a Code of Conduct, were released for consultation by Associate Housing Minister, Poto Williams, today, delivering on a 2020 election manifesto commitment.

“This Government is committed to improving the wellbeing of all New Zealanders and housing plays a fundamental role in that,” Minister Williams said.

“We have heard the calls of the sector, which has said the lack of regulations mean renters feel reluctant to complain to, or about, their property manager for fear of losing their homes or jeopardising their ability to rent houses in the future.

“Property owners are also vulnerable to poor conduct by property managers, and we know of some instances were unregulated property managers have misused rental income and bonds and provided little or no property inspection and maintenance.

“We have made a number of changes to tenancy laws in recent years and committed through the Labour Party’s 2020 manifesto to further improve the rental sector by regulating residential property managers in a manner that protects property owners and tenants.

New Zealand is one of the few countries in the OECD that does not regulate property managers.

“Today’s proposals are part of a suite of initiatives designed to improve the operation of the residential tenancies market and ensure New Zealanders have access to secure, healthy, and affordable housing,” Minister Williams said.

The measures supporting renters include:

  • Introducing the Healthy Homes Standards which improves cover heating, insulation and ventilation.
  • Strengthening the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act which means landlords are not able to end a tenancy without good reason. 
  • Prohibiting rental bids
  • Making it so that rent increases can only be made once every 12 months.
  • Improving renters privacy if they have been successful in the Tenancy Tribunal
  • Making it so that if a tenant requests to make a “minor change” to their rental property, it is unreasonable and unlawful for a landlord to withhold consent for any change.

The discussion document and the submission form are now available on the Te Tūāpapa Kura – Ministry of Housing and Urban Development https://consult.hud.govt.nz/policy-and-legislation-design/property-managers-review

Consultation will run until April 19 and it’s expected that the draft Bill is introduced to Parliament in 2023.

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