Topics: Housing, Rereātea - Midday News

Public feedback needed to make life better for renters

By Jessica Tyson
  • Auckland

New Zealanders are being asked to provide feedback on new government proposals to make life better for renters.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford says New Zealand tenancy laws are outdated and don't reflect the fact that renting is now a long-term reality for many of our families.

“A third of all New Zealanders now rent," he says.

"Insecure tenure can forcer families to continually move house.  This is particularly tough on children, whose education suffers when they have to keep changing schools."

Twyford is urging landlords, tenants and other interested people to have their say on the proposals covered in a discussion document on reforming the Residential Tenancies Act which was released today.

One proposal is to increase the amount of notice a landlord must generally give tenants to terminate a tenancy, from 42 to 90 days.

Another looks at ending 'no cause' tenancy terminations while ensuring landlords can still get rid of rogue tenants.

"We want to strike a balance between providing tenants with security of tenure and allowing them to make their house a home, while protecting the rights and interests of landlords."

The online submission survey is available here and the consultation will run until 5pm, Sunday October 21.

The discussion document covers proposals on:

  • increasing the amount of notice a landlord must generally give tenants to terminate a tenancy from 42 to 90 days.
  • ending no cause tenancy terminations while ensuring landlords can still get rid of rogue tenants.
  • whether changes to fixed-term agreements are justified to improve security of tenure.
  • limiting rent increases to once a year.
  • whether there should be limitations on the practice of 'rent bidding'.
  • whether the general obligations that tenants and landlords have remain fit for purpose.
  • better equipping tenants and landlords to reach agreement about pets and minor alternations to the home.
  • whether further controls for boarding houses are needed to provide adequate protection for boarding house tenants.
  • introducing new tools and processes into the compliance and enforcement system.