The Government has announced changes to the rental sector which it says will benefit "both renters and landlords".
The key changes, according to Associate Minister of Housing Kris Faafoi are:
- limiting rent increases to once every 12 months and banning the solicitation of rental bids by landlords
- improving tenants' security by removing a landlord's right to use no-cause terminations to end a periodic tenancy agreement
- making rental properties safer and more liveable by letting tenants add minor fittings such as brackets to secure furniture against earthquake risk, to baby-proof the property, install visual fire alarms and doorbells, and hang pictures
- improving compliance with the law by increasing financial penalties and introducing new tools to take direct action against parties who are not meeting their obligations.
"With more and more people renting, the law should provide enough security to responsible renters to put down roots in their community," said Faafoi.
"Greater security of tenancy and less regular rent increases, coupled with the ability to make minor improvements, mean renters will be better placed to make their house a home.
"One-third of all New Zealanders now rent. and the previous Government neglected this new reality for nine years. I've heard horror stories of families forced to continually move house, damaging their children's education by constantly changing schools."
He said landlords will have "clear guidelines" to help them "protect their investment and assist them in their dealings with difficult tenants".
"If a tenant acts irresponsibly there can be repercussions."
A Bill to change the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 will be put in front of Parliament early next year.
Changes the NZ First-Labour Government have already made include banning letting fees, establishing better standards for rentals and cutting foreigners' ability to speculate on the property market.
But they've so far had little effect on rent prices, which have continued to rise unabated. Earlier this year Statistics NZ figures showed rents were rising at twice the rate of inflation thanks to growing demand.
"Every change Labour has made so far in this area has restricted supply and pushed up rents," said National Party leader Simon Bridges. "These changes will be no different, hurting those they say they want to help."