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Rental Increase Freeze Not A Rent Freeze

The NZ Property Investors’ Federation (NZPIF) is concerned that many tenants have mistaken the Government announcement banning rent increases as a freeze on having to pay rent.

“We have heard from many members that their tenants have contacted them saying they no longer have to pay rent while other tenants are simply stopping their rental payments”, said Sharon Cullwick, the NZPIF Executive Officer.

Minister of Housing, the Hon Dr Megan Woods, has confirmed that tenants are still required to pay their rent.

There has also been confusion over mortgage holidays. Some tenants and tenant groups have interpreted this as mortgage holders not having to pay for their mortgages over a period of time. However, there is no free lunch here.

If a rental property owner applies for a mortgage holiday, Interest will still be applied to the mortgage. This, as well as a document setup fee of approximately $400, will result in the size of the loan increasing and over time the borrower will be paying interest on the interest payments they are deferring. Some mortgage holidays could end up adding one-two years to the length of the loan as well as substantial costs.

Many people believe that landlords are extremely wealthy people who own multiple houses which are debt free. This is far from the truth. The vast majority of rental property owners have just one rental property, with around 90% having just one or two rentals.

Rental property owners are ordinary New Zealanders who are facing all the same issues from Covid-19. They may also have lost their job or had their income cut just as has happened to other New Zealanders.

“We are asking our members to be compassionate with regard to their tenants, but we would also like tenants to understand that many landlords are facing financial difficulties as well”, said Cullwick.

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