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Landlords And Tenants Reminded Tenancy Law Changes Now Apply

Tenancy Services is advising landlords and tenants to take the time to familiarise themselves with the recent Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020 (RTAA) changes that became law last month.

The second phase of the RTAA came into force on 11 February 2021 and introduced broad changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act), the legislation which outlines the obligations and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants in residential renting situations.

The law change aims to improve tenants’ security and stability, to protect landlords’ interests, and to modernise the legislation so it can respond to changing trends in the rental market.

“If you have a house for rent, or if you are renting yourself, you need to understand how these changes affect you”, says Steve Watson, National Manager Tenancy Compliance and Investigations.

“There is a wealth of information available on the Tenancy Services website (www.tenancy.govt.nz), including a downloadable factsheet which provides a summary of the changes. You can also subscribe to Tenancy Services’ email newsletter for the latest updates on tenancy-related information and legislative changes.

“This is the biggest reform to rental laws in 35 years and has been implemented to reflect the present-day realities of renting; more Kiwis are renting now than ever, so these changes are relevant for a significant proportion of the population.”

The changes took effect from 11 February 2021 and include a number of changes to the Act, such as the requirement for landlords to provide a tenancy agreement in writing and that fixed-term tenancies will now convert to a periodic tenancy on expiry, unless the landlord and tenant agree otherwise.

There are also new rules around how tenancies can be terminated and tenants can ask to make minor changes to the property.

The second phase of the changes are in addition to law changes already in effect since 12 August 2020, which limited rent increases to once every 12 months and clarified the exemption of transitional and emergency housing from the Act.

Further changes will take effect by 11 August 2021, or earlier, and further information on these upcoming changes are also available on the Tenancy Services website.

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