What the Law Changes mean to you

Healthy Homes Standards

As you may know, the laws around rental properties are changing. Landlords and Property Management companies now have an increased responsibility to ensure that all properties managed are fully compliant with the new laws. MBIE Compliance Teams are auditing private landlords and Property Management companies (we’ve been audited twice already!), and it’s extremely important to ensure your rental property is compliant with the new laws.

It’s equally important that accurate records are held for each rental under management. The Healthy Homes Standards require an accurate assessment on all rental properties. It’s in your best interests to ensure the assessment is done accurately.

There are two ways to achieve this:

1. As the property owner, you can complete the MBIE Compliance Statement (be warned – it’s 13 pages long!) and include it in your property records. You’ll need to complete this statement as accurately and as soon as possible. The compliance date for this was 1st December 2020.

2. managemyproperty can arrange an assessment for your rental property by a professional who specialize in the field. You’ll receive an HHS Inspection Report detailing anything that does not comply with the new laws. From there you can choose to deal with any work needing done in several different ways.

managemyproperty is working closely with qualified professional companies to deal with these inspections on your behalf. There is a cost for using this service and it’s not a whole heap.

NOTE: You need to know that managemyproperty is not affiliated to any single provider, and we don’t clip the ticket in any way by offering you their services.

You also need to be aware that any non-compliant rental properties can be subject to a $500 penalty imposed by MBIE and the Tenancy Tribunal.

Important Dates

  • From 1st December 2020 a statement of the current level of compliance with the Healthy Homes Standards must be included in any new, varied or renewed Tenancy Agreement
  • From 1st July 2021 landlords must ensure their rental properties fully comply with the Healthy Homes Standards within 90 days of any new or renewed Tenancy Agreement
  • From 1st July 2024 all rental properties must comply with the new standards

You’ll find more information about the Healthy Homes Standards Regulations below. They’re a pretty boring read so you should probably prepare yourself…

Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020

The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) reforms became law on 11 August 2020 with the passing of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2020. The changes modernise New Zealand’s rental laws and up to date with the realities of renting a property in New Zealand.

Briefly, the main points are:

Security of Rental Tenure

Landlords won’t be able to end a periodic tenancy without cause by providing 90 days notice. New termination grounds will be available to landlords under a periodic tenancy and the required notice periods will change.

Changes for Fixed-term Tenancies

All fixed-term Tenancy Agreements will convert to periodic tenancies at the end of the fixed term unless the landlord and tenant agree otherwise. The new rules for a periodic tenancy mean that the tenant can provide 28-days notice to vacate at any time and the landlord can only provide notice in accordance with the termination grounds for periodic tenancies.

Making Minor Changes

Tenants can ask to make changes to the property and landlords must not decline if the change is minor. Landlords must respond to a tenant’s request to make a change within 21 days.

Prohibitions on Rental Bidding

Rental properties cannot be advertised without a rental price listed and landlords cannot invite or encourage tenants to bid on the rental (pay more than the advertised rent amount).

Fibre Broadband Installation

A landlord must agree to the installation of fibre broadband if it can be installed at no cost to them, unless specific exemptions apply.

Privacy and Access to Justice

A suppression order can remove names and identifying details from published Tenancy Tribunal decisions if a party who has applied for a suppression order is wholly or substantially successful.

Assignment of Tenancies

All requests to assign a tenancy must be considered. Landlords cannot decline unreasonably. If a Tenancy Agreement prohibits assignment, the new legislation negates this clause.

Landlord Records

Not providing a written Tenancy Agreement is now an unlawful act and landlords will need to retain and provide new types of information.

Enforcement Measures

MBIE will have new and broader measures to take action against parties who are not meeting their obligations.

Changes to Tenancy Tribunal Jurisdiction

Tenancy Tribunal can hear cases and make awards up to $100,000. This is a change from $50,000. Fines may be awarded to tenants who bring the case to the tribunal.

The timeline for these law changes are:

12th August 2020 – limit rent increases to once every 12 months takes effect.
11th February 2021 – most of the remaining reforms take effect.
11th August 2021 – reforms relating to family violence and physical assault of a landlord take effect.

It’s important to understand all aspects of these law changes. You can find more in depth information at hud.govt.nz/RTA-reforms, and updates will be provided on the Tenancy Services website

Download the Tenancy Services Factsheet for a full explanation of all the changes.

If it’s all getting a bit too much for you, call us on 0800 277 299 or email office@managemyproperty.co.nz. We’ll take care of it for you!

You’ll find more information about the Healthy Homes Standards Regulations below. They’re a pretty boring read so you should probably prepare yourself…