The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill has been introduced to Parliament and is open for public submission until 25 March 2020.
We have great interest in, and to some degree concern, about the potential loss of a landlord’s ability to end a fixed term tenancy on the fixed end date. It seems to go against basic contract law to us and will have a reasonably significant impact in a city like Dunedin which operates (not just in the student areas) on summer to summer 12 month fixed term contracts. It will take Dunedin many years to settle into a new norm and the cycle to level out. In the meantime, some landlords might find themselves with vacant properties in the dreaded winter period which is something to be prepared for from a cash flow perspective.
We are also very interested to follow the matter of lease assignment.
Tenant’s ability to make small alternations to a house is something to watch out for, especially in high quality and new houses. For instance a tenant doing a shoddy DIY install of window stays in brand new aluminium joinery throughout a new house (under the rationale of security and child-proofing) would not be ideal. We note the rules will require the tenant to have permission from the landlord but that permission can’t reasonably be withheld. We would suggest landlords will need to be on alert and proactively respond to some of those requests by taking it upon themselves to provide what the tenant is asking for instead, thereby controlling the quality of the product and the install.
The end of the 90 day no-cause notice would previously not have been a huge concern to us given almost all of our tenancies are fixed term, but with many tenancies now likely to move on to a periodic basis under these proposed rules, the 90 day no-cause notice was a tool that might have been handy to have up our sleeves, but will now not be available to us.
Anyone can make a submission and we encourage you to, as democracies are run by those who participate. You can make a submission by visiting this link: