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Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020

The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020 ensures the law governing New Zealand's rental market strikes an appropriate balance between protecting a landlord’s interest in their property, and ensuring tenants receive fair rights for the rent they pay.

About the Amendment Act

The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA) came into force over thirty years ago. More New Zealanders are now living in rental accommodation for longer periods of time, including children and older people. This meant that our tenancy law needed to change to reflect this new reality.

The Amendment Act:

  • improves tenants’ security and stability while protecting landlords’ interests
  • ensures the law appropriately balances the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords and helps renters feel at home
  • modernises the legislation so it can respond to the changing trends in the rental market.

Changes

The changes in the Amendment Act are: 

  • Landlords can't end a periodic tenancy without a reason. The legislation sets out specified reasons that a landlord can use to end a tenancy.
  • Fixed-term tenancies granted after 11 February 2021 become periodic tenancies at the end of the fixed term. This applies unless the landlord and tenant agree otherwise, the tenant gives notice, or the landlord gives notice using one of the specified reasons.
  • Tenants can add minor fittings to their premises where the installation and removal of the fittings is low risk.
  • The Regulator has compliance tools to take direct action against parties who are not meeting their obligations.
  • The penalty amounts have been increased in line with rental increases since 2006 when the penalty amounts were set.
  • Soliciting rental bids is prohibited and advertisements/offers for a rental property must include a rental price.
  • The minimum period between rent increases has been raised from six months to twelve months.
  • A party who is successful in the Tenancy Tribunal can have their identifying details removed from the Tribunal’s decision.
  • The Amendment Act also clarifies that the RTA does not apply to Government-funded transitional and emergency housing, unless the provider and the tenant chose to opt in.
  • Tenants who need to leave a tenancy quickly due to family violence will be able to provide the landlord with a family violence withdrawal notice. Regulations need to be made before these provisions will be operational.

Information for tenants and landlords

The Tenancy Services website has more information about the Amendment Act, including your rights and responsibilities, and advice for tenants and landlords.

Visit the Tenancy Services website 

Published: October 13, 2021

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