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APIA Endorses Legislative Changes To Pet Ownership In Rental Properties

The Auckland Property Investors Association (APIA) welcomes the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill, which significantly alters the landscape for landlords and tenants regarding pet ownership in rental properties. This Bill proposes to limit landlords' ability to ban pets outright, aiming to foster transparency and candidness between landlords and tenants.

Under the new legislation, tenants will have a presumptive right to keep pets in rental properties. This marks a significant shift, as tenants will no longer need to hide their pets from landlords or miss out on rental opportunities due to pet ownership. 

"Everything will be above board," says APIA General Manager, Sarina Gibbon. "That's the least our pets deserve – to not be treated as a dirty secret." She further adds, "This right is further strengthened by Section 54, which protects a tenant from having their tenancy terminated for having a pet or even asking to have a pet at the rental property.”

A key provision in the Bill is the introduction of a pet bond, providing landlords with a safety net. This bond ensures that landlords can cover any potential damage caused by pets, thereby encouraging them to consider pet-owning tenants who may otherwise be the best candidates for their properties.

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"We believe that the introduction of a pet bond is a positive step," states Gibbon. "It provides landlords with the financial security they need to take a chance on a pet-owning tenant who is the best applicant on merit."

However, APIA acknowledges that the proposed rule is not without its challenges. The Association is committed to working with its members to identify areas for improvement. "We understand that there are aspects of the rule that can be refined to better address the realities of pet ownership in rental properties," Gibbon adds.

To ensure that the new pet regulations are practical and beneficial for all parties involved, APIA will be canvassing its members for input on how the Bill can be enhanced. The Association looks forward to participating in the select committee process and contributing to the development of fair and effective pet policies in rental housing.

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