Residential Tenancies Act Landlords Must Know
Recent changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 have caused worry amongst landlords. Residential rental properties now must meet specific standards to avoid significant fines, such as:
- $4000 for Unlawful discrimination
- $3000 for Landlord's failure to meet obligations in respect of cleanliness, maintenance, or building or health and safety requirements
- $2000 for Landlord seizing or disposing of tenant's goods
- $2000 for Interference with privacy of tenant
- $1000 for Landlord failing to appoint agent when outside NZ for more than 21 days
- $1000 for Requiring key money
- $1000 for Landlord requiring bond greater than amount permitted
- $1000 for Requiring un-authorised form of security
- $1000 for Landlord requiring rent more than 2 weeks in advance or before rent already paid expires
- $1000 for Unlawful entry by landlord
- $1000 for Landlord interfering with supply of services
- $200 for Failure of landlord to give receipts for rent
Now is the time to act, with the Ministry of Business and Innovation giving landlords notice that compliance with the changes is mandatory.
What Are the Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act?
The Government has introduced the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill with the main goal of improving the rental housing stock in New Zealand. It aims to make homes warmer, drier and safer for those who rent. This developed from a trial of a rental housing Warrant of Fitness for Housing New Zealand properties in 2013. They found that their homes which complied with the WOF were healthier and safer to live in.
As a landlord, there are three key changes to the Residential Tenancies Act you must be aware of:
- Smoke Alarms
- Tenancy Abandonment Process
We’ll study each of these further in detail.
Smoke Alarms in Rental Properties
All residential rental properties must have at least one working smoke alarm installed. Each smoke alarm must be correctly installed, meet the NZ Building Code NZ4512 and be either in or within three metres of a bedroom. One is also needed on each story of the house. The tenant is responsible for changing the batteries and telling you if it is not working.
Insulation in Rental Properties
At the start of each new tenancy, you must give your tenant a written statement together with their tenancy agreement which states if there is insulation in the ceilings, floors or walls. You must also tell them where it is, the type installed and the condition it is in. Insulation must be installed in all rental properties by 1 July 2019 and meet minimum standards required.
Tenancy Abandonment Process
You are now able to get access to and possession of a rental property which has been abandoned. While this is a good thing, using the services of a property manager can prevent poor quality tenants renting your property in the first place.
Letting Fee Ban
A ban on charging letting fees comes into force on 12th December 2018 meaning it is now unlawful for landlords and property managers to charge any fees to a tenant. This means that professional property managers will be looking to pass this cost onto landlords from this date.
Make Life Easier: Use an Experience Auckland Property Manager
It’s our job to understand and ensure your properties comply with the changes to the Residential Tenancies Act. We manage rentals throughout the North Shore, Hibiscus Coast, Dairy Flat, Central Auckland and Rodney areas. We’d love to have a chat with you about how we can help you get the best value of out of your rental property assets. Give us a call on 09 948 3255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today!