Changes on the Horizon: What the Proposed Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill Means for You

Robert Brinkworth

June 2024

The landscape of residential tenancy in New Zealand is on the brink of change with the announcement of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill. Aimed at addressing perceived issues within the current Residential Tenancies Act, this proposed legislation signals a significant shift in how landlords and tenants navigate the rental market.

According to government statistics, the private rental market in New Zealand has been steadily expanding in recent years, with an estimated 1.7 million renters, making up over 80% of renting households. In response to this growth, the Bill seeks to remove barriers to rental supply and incentivize property owners to engage with the private rental market.

Let us take a closer look at some of the proposed changes outlined in the Bill and how they stack up against the current law:

  • Reintroduction of Landlord ‘No Cause’ Terminations: Under the proposed changes, landlords would have the option to terminate periodic tenancies without providing a specific reason. This departure from the current requirement gives landlords more flexibility but may create uncertainty for tenants.
  • Reduction in Landlord Notice Periods: Notice periods for landlords to terminate periodic tenancies in certain situations (e.g., moving in themselves, housing employees, property sale) will be reduced from 63/90 days to 42 days. This makes it easier for landlords to regain possession of their properties.
  • Reduction in Tenant Notice Periods: Tenants’ notice period to terminate periodic tenancies will be reduced from 28 days to 21 days. This provides tenants slightly more flexibility to end tenancies.
  • Introduction of Pet Bond: A notable addition to the proposed changes is the introduction of a pet bond, allowing landlords to require payment (set at a maximum of 2 weeks’ rent) if tenants wish to keep a pet. Failure to comply with these provisions could result in penalties for landlords.
  • Tenant Liability for Pet Damage: The Bill proposes making tenants liable for pet damage beyond fair wear and tear, potentially holding them responsible for accidental or careless damage caused by pets.

While these proposed changes may reshape the rental landscape in New Zealand, it is important to remember that every tenancy situation is unique. Whether you are considering a new or existing tenancy agreement or facing a tenancy claim, our team at Pitt & Moore is here to offer comprehensive advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

For personalized assistance and guidance on navigating these changes, contact us at Pitt & Moore on 03 5488349.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended as legal advice. It is important that you seek legal advice that is specific to your circumstances.

Robert Brinkworth

Position: Solicitor
DDI: +64 3 545 7897

Topics: All Select