Marlborough Property Investors' Association

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New bill champions personal responsibility

The Bill updates and clarifies existing rental laws in response to significant changes in the structure and nature of the residentialrental market.
It adjusts the balance of the Residential Tenancies Act, enabling landlords to manage their properties effectively and ensuring tenants have access to stable, good quality accommodation.
"It will protect some of the most vulnerable people - those living in boarding houses - but will also address risks to landlords providing rental accommodation," Mr Heatley said.
The new Bill will:
  • Extend the Act (including protecting access to advice, information and dispute resolution services) to more people involved in renting, such as tenants in boarding houses
  • clarify responsibility for outgoings by introducing overarching principles to indicate when landlords or tenants are responsible for charges such as water or rates
  • introduce clearer and fairer processes for terminating and renewing tenancies to provide an appropriate balance between flexibility and certainty of tenure
  • encourage landlords and tenants to comply with their obligations under the Act by increasing the value of existing fines and exemplary damages and introducing new sanctions
  • provide for most tenancy disputes to be resolved quickly, fairly and cost effectively
  • improve the enforceability of Tribunal orders.
"Getting this Bill right and before Parliament was a priority for me," Mr Heatley said.
"We have worked quickly to develop the Bill in consultation with key stakeholders because reform of the tenancy laws has been keenly awaited by both tenants and landlords since 2004.
"I believe the House will see the benefits this Bill will bring and I intend to ensure it becomes law as soon as possible."
The bill also includes provisions that:
  •  clarify the status of a tenancy when a sole tenant dies
  •  require the Tenancy Tribunal to terminate a tenancy where a tenant has permitted someone else to assault, or threaten to assault, specified persons (including the tenant's landlord)
  •  require landlords to disclose whether the premises have had to be cleansed under a statutory order (e.g. because the premises have been contaminated due to methamphetamine manufacture)

What next?

Before becoming law, the Bill will need to pass through several parliamentary stages including consideration by a select committee. Select committees usually invite public submissions on bills by placing advertisements in newspapers and on Parliament's website.
Members of the public will be able to access a copy of the Bill and track its progress on Parliament's website
Media Statement Minister of Housing 15 May 2009