A Government reform of tenancy laws aimed to make life better for renters has been described locally as "appalling", "abhorrent" and "left-wing vote catching".

However, not everyone is against it, with a Rotorua principal saying it will make life better for local families, therefore giving stability to children in schools.

A discussion document released by Housing Minister Phil Twyford on Monday proposes several changes to benefit renters, such as making it easier to have pets, limiting rent rises to once a year, increasing the notice period to 90 days and allowing tenants to make minor alternations.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford. Photo / File
Housing Minister Phil Twyford. Photo / File

Twyford said a third of New Zealanders rented and tenancy laws were antiquated and did not reflect the fact that renting was now a long-term reality for many families.


Rotorua Property Investors Association president Philip Macalister said the Government wanted renters to have the benefits of home owners, which was wrong.

"I think it is appalling ... The Government is trying to put controls on what property investors can do with their businesses. They are also trying to put price controls on the free market and it's utterly wrong. It is abhorrent. Investors should be able to control their businesses as they see fit."

Macalister said he had read Twyford's document and there wasn't one element that benefited landlords, in his opinion.

"I wouldn't be surprised if landlords just exited the rental market and instead start up things like Air BnBs. And as a result of fewer properties I wouldn't be surprised if we see rents go up."

He said those who did stick around would be within their rights to raise rents to cover potential issues, such as insurance claims for alterations gone wrong and damage to properties by pets.

Rotorua Rentals co-director Richard Evans said the changes were one-sided.

He said it should have included a provision to allow landlords to charge interest for unpaid rent, because most Tenancy Tribunal cases involved rent arrears.

Rotorua Rentals' Richard Evans. Photo / File
Rotorua Rentals' Richard Evans. Photo / File

"It's just basically attacking landlords and they will spend their money somewhere else. It will make the supply even worse and rents will go up even higher. It's very much a left-wing vote catcher."


However, Rotorua Principals' Association president and Rotokawa School principal Briar Stewart said from a children's perspective the changes would be good.

She said housing had a huge impact on schools.

"When someone comes to look at our school, a lack of available rentals and affordable housing is an issue."

Rotokawa School principal Briar Stewart. Photo / File
Rotokawa School principal Briar Stewart. Photo / File

The impacts on children forced to hop from one property to another showed in their schoolwork.

"When a child changes schools, their social circle changes, they have to grow a sense of belonging before they can learn again. Children are really resilient but that doesn't mean they are learning," Stewart said.

The Government will seek feedback on the proposals.

Proposed changes
Ending cancellations of tenancies without cause while ensuring landlords can still get rid of rogue tenants
Increasing the notice period a landlord must give tenants when ending a lease from 42 days to 90 days
Limiting rent increases to once a year and scrapping bidding for rental properties Providing better processes for landlords and tenants to agree on pets or minor alterations to homes