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The NZPIF Welcomes The Proposed RTA Changes Around Tenant’s Pets

Pet ownership among tenants is increasing and NZPIF have advocated for fair and balanced laws around this as one way to help the rental market. Many good tenants value having their pets who are part of their family and help with mental wellbeing, making them more stable and better tenants.

There are many examples of good, long term tenants with pets but there are also many examples of tenancy terminations due to serious property damage. There is also the potential for conflicts with and disturbance of neighbours by pets.

The current rulings of the Tenancy Tribunal have been that if a property owner allows a pet, they also have to expect extra wear & tear on that property without any recompense. This has naturally been a deterrent when faced with plenty of choice of tenants and has worked against those with pets. There are a multitude of reasons for refusing pets and a large degree of subjectivity around disputes.

The proposed changes announced on Monday will require landlords to have reasonable grounds to not allow pets in rental properties. The difficulty is the defining of “reasonable grounds” and its application.

However, all rental properties are not the same, which is why property suitability and type of pet and its behaviour are important in the decision of a property owner to allow tenants with pets.

A pet in a standalone property with outside space is a very different proposition to a pet in a multi dwelling with neighbours in close proximity. The type of pet and its space needs and local council by-laws have to be considered.

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The introduction of an optional two weeks “pet bond” on top of the current maximum four weeks bond is proposed to cover costs for pet damage. However this raises questions around how the already overloaded Tenancy Tribunal will take on an increasing number of disputes around allowing pets.

While there has been a lot of interest in the changes proposed, they will not be implemented in the near future. The bill still has to go through a Select Committee process and have all scenarios tested, including dispute resolution, to make sure it is ‘fit for purpose’. With a proposed staged roll out, the new legislation is not due to be implemented until late 2025.

As the national advocate for residential property investors, NZPIF supports the initiative as a step in the right direction and is committed to engaging with the Select Committee and the Ministry to find the best solution.

© Scoop Media

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