With New Zealand starting the process of loosening its border restrictions, foreign workers will soon be entering the country again, this means that now is a good time to consider your responsibilities around housing workers on the farm.
Generally, the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (“the Act”) applies to any right to occupy a premises for residential purposes in consideration for rent and includes service tenancies.
A service tenancy is a tenancy granted to an employee or contractor as part of their employment or contract agreement. There need not be a separate tenancy agreement or any rent or monies payable by the tenant for a service tenancy to exist.
So, if there is a service tenancy, what does this mean for you?
We are rapidly approaching a year since the Residential Tenancies (Healthy Homes Standards) Regulations 2019 (“the Regulations”) came into force.
The Regulations prescribe minimum standards that premises must meet in order to comply with the Act. Failure to provide healthy homes information can lead to fines and damages being payable.
The minimum standards prescribed by the Regulations relate to:
There are specific exemptions to each of these requirements. There are also more general exemptions, for example:
It is also worth noting the Residential Tenancies (Smoke Alarms and Insulation) Regulations 2016 which requires the premises to have smoke alarms in the sleeping space(s), withing 3 metres of the entrance to sleeping spaces, and in the habitable spaces.
While complying with all your responsibilities around housing workers on the farm at times can appear overwhelming and like just more red tape to deal with, in our experience it is better to front foot these issues rather than ending up at the tenancy tribunal with a bigger headache.
If you would like more in-depth advice or further information about the content of this article, please get in touch with the team at Pitt & Moore on 03 5488349, and ask to speak with Ralph Shaw, Solicitor.
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.