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

The changes 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 will become periodic tenancies at the end of the fixed term unless the landlord and tenant agree otherwise, the tenant gives at least 28 days’ notice to end the tenancy, or the landlord uses one of the specified reasons to end a periodic tenancy, with the applicable notice period depending on the circumstances.

  • Tenants who experience family violence will be able to give landlords two days’ notice to end a tenancy.

  • Landlords (or their agent or family member) who are assaulted by a tenant will be able to end the tenancy with 14 days’ notice.

  • Tenants will be able to add low risk minor fittings to a property, such as hanging pictures on the wall and child-proofing.

  • Rent increases will only be permitted once every 12 months.

  • Landlords will be prohibited from soliciting rental bids (e.g. by advertising a property without a rental price).

  • A party who is successful in the Tenancy Tribunal will be able to 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) will have 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 will be 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 upcoming changes and how they will impact their tenancies.  If you are a landlord or a tenant and would like advice about the new law, talk to your legal advisor for advice best suited to your situation.

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.