Changes to the New Zealand rental market have been made as a result of the Level 4 lockdown in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. These changes impact both landlords and tenants nationwide. We’ve broken down what these changes are and how they’ll affect you.
No rental increases
Landlords will not be able to increase rent for an initial period of six months. Tenants who can’t pay their rent will have 60 days – instead of 21 – before their landlord can take them to the Tenancy Tribunal.
No termination of tenancies
Without mutual consent, landlords can’t terminate tenancies for a minimum of three months. However, evictions are still allowed for any illegal activity or anti-social behaviour. Landlords who break any of the new rules will be liable for a $6,500 fine.
Tenants can’t leave
Even if a tenant has given notice and were due to leave during the Level 4 lockdown period, they must stay in the property. A tenant’s notice to quit can also be revoked so they can stay in the property during the lockdown.
Inspections and maintenance must be deferred
Changes to the New Zealand rental market also include routine inspections will need to be deferred until after the Level 4 restrictions have been lifted. Inspections can only occur via a video and a landlord can ask to see a property after the restrictions have eased. No maintenance is allowed to take place during the Level 4 restrictions unless it affects utilities. In that case, only licensed tradespeople may attend the property to deal with the issue.
Tribunals to be rescheduled
Any tribunals hearings to consider rental disputes that fall during Level 4 restrictions will also need to be rescheduled.
The government has the ability to extend these measures beyond the initial three-month period without passing a new law if it deems necessary in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.