Government announces tenancy law reforms

New reforms aimed at encouraging landlords back into the rental market

Government announces tenancy law reforms

The coalition government has unveiled significant amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act, aimed at re-engaging landlords with the rental market, according to Housing Minister Chris Bishop (pictured above).

A shift in policy

Bishop criticised the previous administration for its approach to landlords, saying, “The previous government waged a war on landlords,” which he believes led to negative outcomes such as increased rents and a higher social housing waitlist.

“Our government is making sensible pro-tenant changes to the Residential Tenancies Act to help increase the supply of rental properties,” Bishop said.

Key changes to tenancy rules

The announced changes, agreed upon in the National-Act coalition agreement, are designed to simplify the process for landlords and provide more rental housing options. These adjustments include:

  • Reinstating 90-day “no cause” terminations for periodic tenancies.
  • Reducing landlords’ notice periods for ending a periodic tenancy to 42 days under specific conditions.
  • Reducing tenants’ notice period for ending a periodic tenancy to 21 days.
  • Allowing landlords to end a fixed-term tenancy at the term’s end without a specific reason.

Bishop believes these changes will alleviate some of the pressures faced by “mum and dad landlords,” consequently increasing the rental property supply and stabilising rents.

A bill enacting these changes is set to be introduced to Parliament in May, with the new regulations expected to be in force by early 2025.

Government’s housing plan

The reforms are part of a broader strategy to address New Zealand’s housing crisis, which includes policies to enhance the functioning of the rental market, support for social housing, and reform of the Resource Management Act 1991.

“To end New Zealand’s housing crisis, we need to use every tool we have to increase supply,” Bishop said, linking the tenancy law changes with efforts to restore mortgage interest deductibility for landlords as incentives to boost rental home numbers.

Read the government media release here.

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