Major changes to the law regarding Residential Tenancies Act came into force on 11 February 2021. 

The changes are designed to modernise the law relating to residential tenancies, reflect the current rental market, give tenants more security and stability, and protect landlords’ interests.

So what are the changes?

Broadly summarised, the key changes in the new legislation are:

  • Landlords will need a specified reason to end a tenancy that has no fixed term (periodic tenancy), such as the owner or a family member moving back in, or to convert the property to commercial premises.
  • Fixed-term tenancies become periodic tenancies at the end of the fixed term unless agreed otherwise.
  • Tenants who experience family violence can give landlords two days’ notice to end a tenancy.
  • Landlords (or their agent or family member) who are assaulted by a tenant can end the tenancy with 14 days’ notice.
  • Tenants can add low risk minor fittings to a property, such as hanging pictures on the wall and child-proofing.
  • Rent increases are only permitted once every 12 months.
  • Landlords are prohibited from soliciting rental bids (e.g. by advertising a property without a rental price).
  • A party who is successful in the Tenancy Tribunal can have their identifying details removed from the decision so that their information is not made public.
  • The Regulator (the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) has new compliance tools to deal with people who are not meeting their obligations in relation to residential tenancies.
  • Penalty amounts for offences under the Act are increased in line with rental increases since 2006 (when the current penalty amounts were set).

It is very important for landlords and tenants to know about the changes and how they impact their tenancies. 

Landlords who do not comply with the new rules run the risk of their tenants making a complaint to the Tenancy Tribunal.  Landlords must ensure that their tenancy documentation is legally compliant.  In light of the new changes it would be wise to take advice from a professional experienced in the area.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.

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