National proposes new build-to-rent housing bill

It warns of two key barriers

National proposes new build-to-rent housing bill

The New Zealand National Party (National) has introduced a new bill to boost build-to-rent development across the country.

The new Boost Build-to-Rent Housing Bill enables investment in purpose-built rental properties that provide greater security of tenure, professional landlord services, and experience of staying in newly built accommodation.

“Build-to-rent developments are an important part of housing markets in countries we like to compare ourselves too, such as the United Kingdom and Australia. It’s time New Zealand made itself more welcoming to this sort of investment as well,” said National List MP, based in Wellington, Nicola Willis.

Read more: Is the Housing Supply Bill bad news for existing homeowners?

Willis focused in on two key barriers: “This sector is yet to take off in New Zealand. Investors are interested in making it happen, but point to barriers in the Overseas Investment Act and Income Tax Act. However, she explained that the new bill could address these barriers by:

  • Exempting build-to-rent developments from some aspects of the Overseas Investment Act 2005 in the same way as retirement villages, rest homes, and student hostels; and
  • Ensuring that the build-to-rent properties are treated as a commercial building for the Income Tax Act 2007.

Willis has written to Housing Minister Megan Woods to convince her to take up the bill as a matter of public business.

“This government has talked the talk on build-to-rent for years, hosting endless workshops and talk-fests. It’s time for action,” she added.

“Kiwis are crying out for fresh thinking and new ideas to solve New Zealand’s housing woes. National will continue to offer up practical, constructive ideas, like this bill, to help supercharge housing supply in this country.”