Landlords who chose to rent their holiday homes out to seasonal worker may want to think again after New Zealand went through the biggest reform of its tenancy laws in 35 years last week.
Landlords will no longer have the right to oust tenants on a certain date- instead tenants now have the right to stay on in the rental property if they want to- and the landlord can do nothing about this.
The new legislation came into effect last Thursday and will make it harder for landlords to evict tenants without reason, amongst a raft of other measures which favour the tenants.
The rules will include:
Landlords will no longer be able to
evict tenants with 90 days' notice - they will need "specific
grounds" to get rid of renters - and the notice periods will change too.
To evict problematic tenants, landlords must provide evidence of three separate anti-social events in a 90 days period, or prove their tenant has been more than five days late on rent five times in 90 days.
Another section of the reform focuses on making houses more like homes for tenants. Tenants will be allowed to request fibre internet and landlords must agree - if it comes at no additional cost to them.
Tenants will also be able to request to make minor changes to the property such as hanging curtains or installing a baby gate - and landlords are not allowed to decline if the change is small.
Rental bidding wars will be outlawed and all properties must be marketed with a price tag. However, renters are still allowed to offer to pay more for a property they want - landlords just can't instigate it.
The laws around privacy in the Tenancy Tribunal are changing too - tenants will be able to apply for name suppression following a hearing to avoid themselves being blacklisted.
Still to come
From August 11, more changes will come into effect. Any tenant experiencing family violence will be able to leave their tenancy with just two days' notice if they have evidence of the abuse.
The tenant who is leaving will not be charged, and the remaining tenants will have their rent reduced proportionately for two weeks.
So, what do Wanaka rental agencies think
Colleen Topping of Home&Co said some of the laws were good.
“ I think it's important to state that- however, there are some that I see as being negative to both tenants and homeowners.
“I think particularly in Wānaka is the law that says that when a fixed term tenancy ends, it is up to the tenant to decide if they want to leave or not.
“I think the detriment comes in that fewer people are going to be willing to rent out their houses – we have already seen this in Wānaka.
“Last winter the same law was in place temporarily and this put people off letting their house.
“I’m mainly talking about seasonal rentals- people who rent out for the winter to ski field workers, Topping said
“With the law change many owners are asking us can I get my house back and the short answer is no, not if it is a holiday home.
“I see this as reducing the number of rentals and there are going to be seasonal workers who are going to struggle to find accommodation.”
Margo Goodsall, co-director of Manage My House said: “Landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants with 90 days' notice - they will need "specific grounds" to get rid of renters – I don’t think this fair.
I have never evicted a tenant for no reason, she said.
“ Landlords want tenants in their property. My question is for the private landlords out there: what if they didn’t do the correct checks and got undesirable tenants in, it would be hard to remove them.”
“Tenants will be allowed to request fibre internet and landlords must agree - yes this is fair, I’ve always encouraged tenants to get this anyway.”
“Rental bidding wars will be outlawed and all properties must be marketed with a price tag and this is fabulous. I’ve never encouraged this; I think it’s good that rentals are advertised with a price.”
Read edition 1014 of the Wānaka Sun here.