Changes are coming to the rules around renting in New Zealand. So, what can tenants do in the months ahead? 

The Government has revealed it is rolling back several rules around rentals that were introduced in 2020. 

Those changes included re-introducing 90-day “no cause” terminations for periodic tenancies.  

Currently, landlords are only able to end a tenancy for a handful of reasons that they must specify, such as a tenant consistently not paying rent, or the property being sold or renovated. Landlords would no longer need to give a reason for terminating a tenancy.  

Landlords won’t need to give a specific reason for not continuing a fixed-term tenancy when it reaches the end of that term either.  

The Government is also reducing the notice landlords must give tenants to leave a property they are planning to move into themselves.  

Landlords currently need to give 63 days’ notice to end a tenancy if they or their family need to live at the property, or if the tenancy agreement says the property is usually used for employees and an employee is moving in. (The latter usually applies to accommodation provided on farms to workers.) This notice period will be reduced to 42 days. 

The notice period for vacating a property because it has been sold will also be reduced to 42 days instead of the current 90 days.  

Meanwhile, the Government is reducing tenants’ notice period for ending a periodic tenancy to 21 days, down from the current 28 days. 

Housing Minister Chris Bishop said the upcoming changes are “sensible pro-tenant changes ... to help increase the supply of rental properties”. 

‘Be on your toes, tenants’ 

Angela Maynard from the Tenants Protection Association (Auckland) does not share Bishop’s opinion that the looming rental rule changes are pro-tenant.  

“What are tenants getting out of this? Tell me what's going to be better in this for tenants - there's not a thing,” she said. 

“This is a huge backwards step because it gives tenants no protection at all.” 

Maynard said the Government’s moves are disappointing for advocates who campaigned from 1986 through to 2020 for changes to renters’ rights.  

“We are currently totally disheartened by the lack of care and empathy for tenants.” 

However, Maynard points out the changes have not come into effect yet. She said tenants should be aware of landlords attempting to enact any of the new rules before then. 

“We would say ‘be on your toes, tenants’ that [landlords] don't try to bring this in now,” she said. 

“We'll be monitoring it very closely … making sure that [people] know that [the changes haven’t] happened yet.” 

The Government will be introducing a bill to make these changes in May; however, they were not expected to come into effect until early 2025. 

Be aware of what isn’t changing 

Renters should know that other rules around tenancies – such as how often rent can be raised – are unchanged, Maynard said.  

“They do remain the same, but I suspect that once [the new rules] do come into effect, a lot of landlords who know their tenants can’t afford a rent increase, for example, will just be issuing a 90-day notice so they can get a higher-rent-paying tenant into the property,” she said. 

Any tenant who thinks they have been treated unfairly should contact an organisation like the Tenants Protection Association to see what their options are, Maynard said.  

Advice for landlords 

Maynard also had some tips for landlords ahead of the Government’s new rules. 

“Treat [tenants] with respect and don’t take advantage of them,” she said.  

“A landlord should appreciate good tenants and not try to work against them in any way by manipulating the legislation or trying to implement [it] before the legislation is passed.”

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