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TENANCY MATTERS
The past, the present and the future
Contact details: 06 353 1925 x 724
Email: greg@watsonrealestate.co.nz
Facebook: www.facebook.com/watsonproperty
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/greg-watson
Why me?
Winner of 19 National, Australasian and International Property Management
and General Business Awards
One of New Zealand’s leading property management experts
Speak and Train international on industry innovation and best practice.
Local family real estate business , I am on call for help and advice for you
or your clients.
Insurance and Renting
Rights & Obligations of Tenants and Landlords
Help with tenancy issues
Laws relating to Tenancy Matters
Changes around smoke alarms and insulation
The Health and Safety at Work Act
The Osaki Ruling
Changes by the Healthy Homes Act
Upcoming changes in the amendments bill
Future changes likely
Landlord
Insurance
Prudent landlords should have the
following cover:
Building
Contents
Loss of rent
No excess on glass breakage
No excess on drains and sanitary
Legal Liability
Intentional or malicious damage
Loss of Rent
Tenant
Insurance
Prudent tenants should have the
following cover:
Contents
Liability
Rights and
Responsibilities
The Residential Tenancy Act 1986 defines what
Landlords and Tenants can and cannot do (Sections 36
to 49)
Resource: The Residential Tenancies Act 1986
Examples: Tenants are responsible to pay rent, and
they have the right to occupy the property; Landlords
are responsible to comply with smoke alarm regulations
and have the right to visit the property from time to
time
A breach
of Tenancy
Law
The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act)
sets outs the rights and responsibilities of
people who enter into tenancy agreements.
When someone doesn’t follow the rules, this is
called a breach of the Act. Someone can
breach the Act by not doing what they’re
supposed to do, or by doing something they’re
not allowed to do.
Resource: 14 Day Notice Rent Arrears
Resource: 14 Day Notice Other Tenant Breach
Resource: 14 Day Notice of Landlords Breach
Exemplary Damages
When someone commits an unlawful act, the affected person can apply to the
Tenancy Tribunal for ‘exemplary damages’. This means that the person who committed
the act pays a fine to the affected person. Exemplary damages can’t be awarded for
‘ordinary’ breaches.
The Tenancy Tribunal considers how serious the unlawful act is and what impact it’s had
on the affected person before awarding exemplary damages.
Schedule 1A of the Act lists the maximum amounts that can be awarded by the
Tenancy Tribunal for certain unlawful acts.
Resource: Decisions the Tribunal Can Make
Resource: Tariff amounts for unlawful acts
Discrimination
Changing locks
Cutting power or water
Being overseas without appointing an
Agent
Not receipting bond
Retaliatory notice
Unlawful entry of landlord
Seizing or disposing of tenants goods
Interference with privacy
Interference with means of escape from a
fire
Failure to meet legal obligations for
cleanliness, maintenance, smoke alarms,
insulation, or building or health and safety
requirements
Resource: Tariff amounts for unlawful acts
Changing locks
Interference with means of escape from a
fire
Failing to observe tenants duties upon
termination
Using or permitting the premises to be used
for an unlawful purpose
Harassment of tenant or neighbour
Exceeding maximum allowed tenants
Sub-letting or assigning the tenancy
Failure to let landlord have access when
entitled to
Abandonment of premises without
reasonable excuse
Resource: Tariff amounts for unlawful acts
Housing Improvement
Regulations 1947
The Housing Improvement Regulations create minimum
requirements that housing must meet. Local authorities are
responsible for the enforcement of these regulations within
their districts. The premises must comply with each of these
requirements unless it complied with an equivalent
requirement the Building Code at the time it was built.
The purpose of the Housing Improvement Regulations is to
ensure that properties are warm, dry, safe and sanitary.
Resource: https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/maintenance-and-
inspections/laws-and-bylaws/
Residential
Tenancies
Act 1986
The Act provides the clarification of legal
matters relating to Residential Tenancies
and Boarding Homes.
The Act supersedes any additional clauses
put into a tenancy agreement (e.g. carpets,
pets etc)
It is designed to stand alone, although refers
to other laws pertaining to property.
Established the Tenancy Tribunal.
Human Rights Act 1993
In terms of tenancy matters, it relates largely to the
selection of and treatment of tenants.
Resource: Prohibited Grounds of Discrimination
Pet owners and smokers are not included in the list in
Section 21 of the Act.
The
Building
Act 2004
and the
Building
Code
The Building Act governs the construction of
new buildings and the alteration and
demolition of existing buildings.
The purpose of the Act is to make sure buildings
are safe and healthy, that people can escape
from them if there’s a fire, and that they
promote sustainable development. The Act
also promotes compliance with the Building
Code.
Resource:
https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/maintenance-
and-inspections/laws-and-bylaws/
The Building
Act 2004
and the
Building
Code
The Building Code sets out performance
standards for work on all types of buildings. It
covers things like structural stability, fire safety,
access, moisture control, durability, services and
facilities.
The Code does not set out construction methods.
It describes how a building must perform, rather
than how it must be designed and constructed.
Local authorities are mainly responsible for
ensuring compliance with the Code.
Resource:
https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/maintenance-and-
inspections/laws-and-bylaws/
Real Estate Agents Act 2008
In 2008 the Property
Management
industry was de-
regulated, and
existing consumer
safeguards were
removed.
1
This included the
need to have a trust
account, the need
for auditing, a clean
criminal history, a
fidelity fund, a
disciplinary board, a
license to hold
office and any
educational
requirements.
2
If home owners now
have an issue with a
property manager
or company they
must seek redress
through the
Consumer
Guarantees Act,
the Fair Trading Act
or Common Law.
3
Home owners have
extra protection
and standards if
using a company
that is a REINZ
member.
4
The Tenancy
Tribunal can
help if
houses are
not safe and
healthy
A tenant can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a work
order or other type of order if a landlord won’t meet
their responsibilities for providing a safe and healthy
home.
Where the rental cannot lawfully be used for residential
purposes a tenant may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal
for rent to be repaid to them because the landlord has
received rent that is not lawfully recoverable under the
Act.
Rentals that cannot be lawfully used for residential
purposes could include illegally converted garages,
unconsented dwellings and commercial properties
used for residential use.
Resource:
https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/disputes/tribunal/
RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES
(SMOKE ALARMS AND INSULATION)
REGULATIONS 2016
Resource: A video summary about the changes
SMOKE
ALARMS
Smoke alarms are now compulsory in all rental homes.
Landlords must ensure there is at least one working smoke
alarm in each bedroom or within three metres of each
bedroom door, at least one on each storey or level, and at
least one in any caravan, sleep-out or similar.
All new or replacement smoke alarms, installed from 1 July
2016 onward, must be long-life photoelectric smoke alarms
with a battery life of at least eight years or a hard-wired
smoke alarm system, and meet the required product
standards.
Smoke Alarms
Tenants must replace expired batteries in smoke alarms
during the tenancy.
Resource: renter’s home fire safety checklist
Resource: landlord’s fire safety checklist
Smoke Alarms
INSULATION
Insulation Statements are now compulsory on all new tenancy
agreements.
The landlord must disclose whether there is insulation in the rental
home, where it is, what type and what condition it is in, so tenants
can make an informed decision.
Resource: Sample Insulation Statement for Landlords
Insulation will be compulsory in all rental homes from 1 July 2019.
Ceiling and underfloor insulation will be compulsory in all rental
homes from 1 July 2019, where it is reasonably practicable to install. It
must comply with the Regulations and be safely installed.
Resource: Video for landlords about insulation requirements
A landlord who fails to comply with the regulations is committing an
unlawful act and may be liable for a penalty of up to $4,000.
Resource: Insulation Requirements Booklet
Health
and
Safety at
Work Act
2015
Before the Act, responsibility stopped with the Property
Management Company.
What is a PCBU?
a person conducting a business or undertaking
If you are a residential landlord, you are a PCBU under the
law. The steps that you can take to meet your legal duties
are straightforward.
Health
and
Safety at
Work Act
2015
Engage competent contractors to do any work on the
property
Ensure any serious injury or illness arising from work is notified
Resource: The Health and Safety at Work Act
Resource: Worksafe New Zealand: For landlords
The
Osaki
Ruling
Court of Appeal Ruling
It confirms that tenants
cannot be held
liable
for unintentional
damage if the landlord
is insured.
Resource: Tenancy Tribunal
Notes
Residential Tenancies
Amendment Bill (No 2)
liability for damage to rental premises caused by a tenant
Resource: Tenant Liability Questions
methamphetamine contamination in rental premises
Resource: Methamphetamine Contamination Questions
tenancies over rental premises that are unlawful for residential use
Resource Unlawful residential premises questions
The Bill passed its First Reading on 4 July 2017 and has been referred to the Local
Government and Environment Committee for consideration.
Healthy
Homes
Guarantee
Act 2017
Supports the creation of Regulations and
Standards in relation to:
Heating
Insulation
Ventilation
Moisture ingress
Draught stopping
Drainage
Healthy
Homes
Guarantee
Act 2017
The government has announced that landlords,
public health specialists, building science
experts, and industry representatives will all
have the chance to be involved in creating the
new minimum standards.
Healthy
Homes
Guarantee
Act 2017
Allows requirements around:
What must be installed and provided
Inspections, maintenance or replacements
Quantities, locations, condition, types and
technical specifications
Resource:
https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/about-
tenancy-services/news-and-events/new-
healthy-homes-legislation-has-passed/
Future changes likely
Abolish no-cause terminations of tenancies
Abolish 42 Day notice periods, change to 90 days
Limit rent increases to once per year, with a formula for
increases included in tenancy agreements
Ban letting fees
Offer $2,000 grants to landlords for insulation and
heating
The art of re-direction!!
Health and Safety for Landlords: www.worksafe.govt.nz
Standard of the Property/Health risks: www.tenancy.govt.nz
www.pncc.govt.nz
www.horizons.govt.nz
Bond or bond returns: www.tenancy.govt.nz
0800 Tenancy 0800 737 666
Landlord not sure what to do: www.tenancy.govt.nz
0800 Tenancy 0800 737 666
Tenant not sure what to do: www.tenancy.govt.nz
0800 Tenancy 0800 737 666
Legislation: www.legislation.govt.nz
Noise/Disturbance: Palmerston North City Council (06) 356 8199
Horizons regional Council (06) 9522 800
Suspicions of criminal activity: Palmerston North Police (06) 351 3600
Crime in progress: Dial 111