The Bill was introduced and received its first reading in May 2024. The Bill was referred to the Social Services and Community Committee for consideration. Submissions opened 22 May 2024 and will close 3 July 2024. You can find information about how to make a submission to the select committee on the Parliament website(external link)

It’s important for landlords and tenants to note that these changes are not yet law, and do not yet affect tenancies.

Tenancy terminations: proposed changes

Law is currently (2024) Proposed law changes

Landlords can end a periodic tenancy if they have a specific termination ground, e.g. demolishing the property or carrying out extensive renovations.

90-day ‘no cause’ terminations for periodic tenancies without requiring a specific ground for ending the tenancy.

Notice periods are 63 days to end a periodic tenancy where:

  • the owner, or their family member, requires the property to live in as their main residence.
  • the property is needed for an employee (and this is in the tenancy agreement).

The notice period is 90 days to end a periodic tenancy where:

  • the property has been sold with a requirement to give vacant possession.
Notice periods return to 42 days for these same specific landlord termination grounds.

Tenants have to give 28 days’ notice (at least) to end a periodic tenancy.

Tenant’s notice period returns to 21 days for ending a periodic tenancy.

Fixed-term tenancies automatically convert to periodic tenancies unless:

  • a landlord gives notice using the one of the specific termination grounds for periodic tenancies;
  • a tenant gives notice for any reason at least 28 days before the end of the tenancy; or
  • the parties agree otherwise e.g. to renew the fixed term or to end the tenancy.

Fixed-term tenancies automatically convert to periodic tenancies unless:

  • a landlord or tenant gives notice to end a fixed-term tenancy between 90 and 21 days before the fixed term ends. No specific reason is required; or
  • the parties agree otherwise e.g. to renew the fixed term or to end the tenancy.

Pet bond and pet consent rules

The Bill amends the RTA so that a ‘pet bond’ may be required by landlords up to a maximum value of two weeks’ rent (in addition to the regular rental bond).

In order to keep a pet in a rental property, the Bill requires tenant obtain written consent from their landlord, who may only refuse on reasonable grounds.

The non-exhaustive list of reasonable grounds for refusing a tenant’s request to keep a pet in a rental property listed in the Bill are:

  • the premises are not suitable for the pet or pets (for example, because of the size or fencing of the premises, or other unique features of the premises);
  • a relevant bylaw or body corporate operational rule made under the Unit Titles Act 2010 prohibits the pet or pets from being kept on the premises;
  • the tenant has not complied with relevant bylaws relating to the pet or pets;
  • the pet or pets are not suitable for the property:
    • due to size, type, breed, or propensity for causing damage to premises or disruption to other persons residing in the neighbourhood; or
    • because it is, or they include, a dog that has been classified as dangerous or menacing under the Dog Control Act 1996; or
    • because there is good reason to believe it has, or they have, previously attacked persons or other animals;
  • the tenant has not agreed with a reasonable condition to which the landlord proposes to make the tenancy agreement or the consent subject.

The Bill makes tenants fully liable for careless and accidental pet-related damage that is beyond fair wear and tear.

The Bill includes pet consent and bond-related infringement offences, unlawful acts, and associated penalties to support compliance with the new rules.

Minor and technical changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986

The Bill also includes a range of additional minor amendments to further support landlords and improve the clarity and effectiveness of the law.

Amendment Why this amendment is proposed

Clarifying landlords can prohibit tenants smoking indoors

Clarifies that clauses in tenancy agreements that prohibit smoking indoors are enforceable.
Enabling online bond lodgement Makes it easier for landlords and tenants to have bond lodged in new bond system when implemented.

Enabling Tenancy Tribunal to decide matters by reading the documents instead of having parties attend the hearing

Supports the Tenancy Tribunal to be efficient, reducing time and costs associated with attending Tenancy Tribunal hearings for stakeholders where appropriate.

Clarifying a tenant’s ability to withdrawal from a tenancy when the tenant’s dependant has experienced family violence

Removes barriers to leaving unsafe situations by confirming that a tenant leave a tenancy at short notice if their child or dependent is subject to family violence.

Clarifying service tenancies managed by Ministry of Education on Crown land

Technical amendment to clarify tenancies where the Crown owns the land, the Ministry of Education acts as landlord, and the employer is the school’s board.

Confirming the jurisdictional limit for the Tenancy Tribunal is per tenancy for consolidated applications

Increases efficiency for MBIE, the Tenancy Tribunal and landlords when MBIE is making an application to Tenancy Tribunal in relation to multiple properties owned by one landlord – limit will be $100,000 per tenancy.

Clarifying the retaliatory termination provision

Will make sure this provision protects tenants when the regulator takes action on their behalf.

Modernising how notices and documents are given

Ensures that landlords and tenants can give documents and notices in modern ways e.g. texts or instant messaging.

What doesn’t change  

The Government is keeping some amendments made in 2020, as they give more choice to landlords in how to manage their property: 

  • Landlords can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to end a periodic tenancy where the landlord has given three notices of anti-social behaviour in 90 days or where the tenant has been in repeated rent arrears. 
  • Landlords can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to end a periodic tenancy quicker than 90 days on hardship grounds.
  • Landlords can end a tenancy with 14 days’ notice where the tenant has assaulted the landlord, their family or an agent, and a criminal charge has been filed. 

The Government is also keeping the 2020 amendment to keep tenants safe, by making sure they can withdraw from a tenancy where they are a victim of family violence. 

Next steps

You can follow the passage of the Bill on the Parliament website(external link)