The Government’s proposal to introduce new requirements under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) will give residential landlords plenty to consider.
One of the most significant changes is to put an end to a landlord’s ability to initiate “no-cause evictions”. Where previously landlords could cancel open-ended tenancies on 90 days’ notice without reason, the new legislation provides that open-ended tenancies can be terminated only in certain circumstances, such where a landlord intends to list the property for sale or make significant alterations to the property.
This also applies to ending fixed term tenancies. While fixed term tenancies will still convert to periodic tenancies at the end of the fixed period, in order for a landlord to end the tenancy altogether, the landlord must do so for one of the reasons listed in the RTA.
The new regime also introduces several other changes including:
- limiting rent increases to once every 12 months;
- prohibiting landlords from seeking rental bids or advertise a property without a rental price listed;
- Allowing tenants to add minor fittings to the property to make them safer and more liveable, for example adding baby proofing, hanging pictures and adding brackets to secure furniture against earthquake risk. Tenants still need to seek permission to make such changes and must meet the cost of any changes but landlords can only withhold permission for specified reasons.
It is important for landlords to understand these new changes. A bill to amend the RTA is expected to be introduced to Parliament in the first quarter of 2020.