Landlords have called on the Government to grant them greater protection under the law after more tales emerged of "nightmare" tenants causing tens of thousands of dollars damage to rental homes.

But the Government says the reform will look at both sides of the relationship and aims to strike a balance between providing tenants with security of tenure and allowing them to make their house a home, while protecting the rights and interests of landlords.

The latest video today showed a South Auckland rental home reduced to a shell as if it had been torn apart in a war zone.

Simran Gill said the former tenants at her parents' Manurewa rental not only smashed in the doors and windows but also chased the property manager down the road with a hammer before finally being evicted in a police raid.

Advertisement

The family's home has now been in a state of disrepair for almost one year as they wait for their insurance company to decide whether it will pay for the repairs.

Their tale follows earlier stories of an Auckland landlady being unable to remove tenants living illegally in her $2 million St Heliers home and another who was left to foot a $42,000 repair bill for tenant damage.

It's led some landlords to now call for a register to be made to alert them to bad tenants and for the Tenancy Tribunal to be overhauled so it responds to complaints much faster.

Property Investors Federation executive officer Andrew King would also like to see wilful damage laws strengthened so landlords can more easily bring charges against tenants.

"We would like to see that tightened up so that if there is a high level of damage then it can be considered vandalism and is a criminal offence and the police are involved and potentially there is jail time," he said.

Landlord frustration comes as much of the Government's current review of the Residential Tenancies Act has instead been aimed at improving the lives of tenants.

This includes proposals to force landlords to provide healthy and warm homes, stop them from saying no to pets and to always give tenants 90 days notice to leave a rental rather than the 45 days they can in some cases give now.

However, these measures, together with new taxes aimed at landlords, have saddled investors with higher costs, property analysts CoreLogic say.

Advertisement

It's led property ownership costs to rise faster than income growth from rents over the past 15 years, research analyst Kelvin Davidson said.

The higher costs and Government's new tenant-friendly laws are leading some landlords to question whether it's worth investing in property.

One landlord named Mark wrote into the Heraldto say he had has begun selling his property portfolio.

"Being a landlord is just rolling the dice to see whether capital growth outstrips losses enough to make the dramas and stress worthwhile," he said.

Another landlord, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she and her husband had rented out their Auckland home for 19 years but were now debating the pros and cons of keeping it once their current tenants move out.

While there had been good tenants, there had been an equal share of bad, including one retired couple, who took every single "well-established plant" from the house's garden to sell at the local markets.

She said the thought of keeping the home under the impending law changes now seemed "too scary" in case they got a bad tenant.

For Gill and her family, meanwhile, the path ahead remains unclear as they wait for their insurance company to make a decision.

They could go to the Tenancy Tribunal but don't expect to recover the cost of the damages.

The delay has also left their home open to squatters, who have been doing further damage.

"We contacted the police again, saying, 'This is still happening, we need some help because it is too dangerous for us to go back there'," Gill said.

"So the police cordoned it off, but the next day we went past and all the cordoned-off signs were destroyed and thrown down."

She said the situation was "so unfair".

"My parents worked hard, they thought there would be steady income flowing in and this is what they got."

Minister for Housing and Urban Development Phil Twyford urged landlords, tenants and anyone else interested to have their say on the proposals to reform the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). The aim of the reform was to strike a fair balance, he said.

Tenant liability for damage did not form part of the scope of the reform, but there was a bill seeking to cap tenant liability for careless damage at the landlord's excess or four weeks rent. 'Landlords could also take tenants to the Tenancy Tribunal for reckless and intentional damage up to $50,000.

"While the Government is keen to see more security of tenure for renters, we also recognise that landlords must be able to deal with rogue tenants in a timely way. Wilful damage is not being looked at as part of the reform as it's already illegal under the Summary Offences Act with a penalty of up to three months in prison."