Proposed moves by the Government to beef up tenants' rights need to be fairly balanced with landlords' rights, Tauranga rental managers and property investors say.

The Government wants to reform the existing Residential Tenancies Act to "make it better" for renters within this parliamentary term.

Proposed changes include scrapping no-cause tenancy terminations, limiting rent rises to once a year and extending the 42-day notice landlords must give tenants to 90 days.

The changes also aim to introduce measures to end rental bidding by potential tenants.


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Housing Minister Phil Twyford said current tenancy laws were "antiquated" and did not reflect that renting was a long-term reality for many families, with a third of all Kiwis now renting.

"We want to strike a balance between providing tenants with security of tenure and allowing them to make their [rented] house a home, while protecting the rights and interests of landlords," he said.

However, Rentals BOP manager Gary Prentice said the proposed reforms looked "a bit one-sided" in favour of tenants' rights.

"All rental property owners want is a level playing field," Prentice said.

"There needs to be some consideration given to good landlords who have to deal with problem tenants," he said.

"Given our housing shortage, the Government should be encouraging more people to want to own rental properties, rather than giving them a disincentive."

Housing law advocate Shard Loibl said if the proposed reforms gave tenants more rights, he was 100 per cent in favour of them.


Loibl, a solicitor and housing advocate at the Baywide Community Law Centre, said he also helped landlords having problems with tenants, so saw both sides of the debate.

"I think tenants and landlords can benefit from these changes if both parties are prepared to see each other's point of view and sit down and talk to resolve the issues," he said.

"We try to resolve issues by mediation before it needs to head to court."

Tauranga property investor Lindsay Richards also had concerns, particularly the proposal to increase the landlord's 42-days notice to tenants without increasing the 21-day notice a tenant needs to give their landlord.

Richards said landlords did not use the 90-days no-reason notice option lightly.

He had only used it twice, and both times it was because the tenant was being disruptive to other good tenants, he said.

"We all want tenants to stay long-term... the one-week letting fee, which Mr Twyford implies is just a money grab, is part of the costs of employing a property manager."

Tauranga Rentals owner Dan Lusby also believed the changes were "more likely to benefit tenants" than property owners and landlords.

"One major concern is the proposed no fixed-term tenancies. That's something a lot of tenants like because it gives then greater security, and it's good for landlords too."

Lusby said it was far better for tenants to get small rises of $10 to $20 a week at six-monthly intervals than being hit with a $50 to $100 a week increase in one go.

A long-term Tauranga renter, who did not want to be named, said the changes could not come soon enough for him, his wife and three children.

"In my experience, under the current law, tenants have no rights, and there is little or no protection from the Tenancy Tribunal if you're having issues with your landlord.

"They [the reforms] are not the final solution but they are definitely a step in the right direction in terms of greater protection for tenants."

Public consultation submissions close at 5pm on October 21 and the Government wants the changes to be in place by 2020.

Landlord's wish list:

-Make tenants responsible for damage they cause
-Make tenants pay for the water they use when it is charged by the amount used.
-Increase the tenant's notice period to six weeks, as it for landlords.
-Make the cost of heaters and insulation a tax-deductible expense.
- Make it illegal act for tenants to stop paying rent after given notice.

Source: NZ Property Investors Federation.

Proposed changes in the Residential Tenancies Act:

- End no-cause tenancy terminations, while ensuring landlords can get rid of bad tenants
- Increase the notice period landlords must give to tenants to 90 days
- Introduce measures to end rent bidding wars among potential tenants
- Limit rent increase to once a year
- Ensure the tenancy act balances the rights of tenants and landlords.

Source: The Government's consultation document.