Renters, landlords to have their say as changes to Tenancies Act head to select committee

Renters are one step closer to security as the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill progresses to the select committee stage. 

The Bill was first proposed in November 2017 and aims to make rental properties safer and healthier. The Bill also aims to give landlords the tools they need to manage their properties. 

It includes a change which allows the Tenancy Tribunal to keep peoples' details anonymous when they win a case, which should encourage more tenants to pursue remedial action.

The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) says the clause is an incentive for tenants to solve disputes with the Tribunal. 

REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell says they are supportive of this change.

"It's absolutely fair to not have your name part of that process because it may impede your ability to get another rental property," Norwell told Newshub on Friday.

"That's what we don't want; we want to have the rights of tenants quite transparent."

She is hopeful this be an incentive for tenants to go to the Tribunal over any disputes.

But REINZ does not support some of the other proposed changes. One of the clauses would put an end to landlords being able to terminate a tenancy with 90 days' notice and no reason. 

"In the instance that someone is damaging the property or behaving antisocially, it makes it very difficult to remove that tenant," she said.

Landlords will be made to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal with three written incidents of antisocial behaviour within 90 days. 

Each written incident must include the type of behaviour, the date and time it occurred and advise the tenant that they have the right to challenge the notice.

If the landlord would suffer greater consequences than the tenant then the tenancy can be terminated. 

"It actually essentially just removes the right to their own property," said Norwell. 

Associate Housing Minister Kris Faafoi says anyone who wants to weigh in on the proposed changes will have a chance to do so in a select committee.

 "Now is the opportunity for landlords, tenants and others who want to have their say on the Bill to do so," he said in a statement on Friday. 

He says the changes even the playing field between tenants and landlords.

"They will build on the gains we have already made to ensure that rental properties are warm, dry and safe," said Faafoi in a statement on Friday.

"They will provide a higher level of security to tenants, and ensure that landlords continue to have the tools they need to manage their assets and provide a high quality of service to their tenants."