Government announces major rental changes from next year

The Government is reintroducing 90-day no-cause evictions and making several changes to notice period laws in a move meant to "encourage landlords back to the rental property market".  

Housing Minister Chris Bishop announced the suite of changes to the Residential Tenancies Act on Thursday. 

"The previous Government waged a war on landlords. Many landlords told us this caused them to exit the rental market altogether," Bishop said.  

"It caused worse outcomes for tenants: rents up by $170 per week since 2017, the social housing waitlist increasing by about 20,000 families, and thousands of families living in emergency housing motels. 

"Our Government is making sensible pro-tenant changes to the Residential Tenancies Act to help increase the supply of rental properties." 

The changes, which are part of the National-Act coalition agreement, will include: 

  • Reintroducing 90-day 'no cause' terminations for periodic tenancies, meaning landlords can end a periodic tenancy without requiring a specific reason. 
  • Returning landlords' notice periods for ending a periodic tenancy to 42 days where:

- they want to move themselves or a family member into the property, or 

- the tenancy agreement notes the property is usually used to house employees, and they want to move an employee into the property, or 

- where the property is subject to an unconditional agreement for sale requiring vacant possession. 

  • Returning tenants' notice period for ending a periodic tenancy to 21 days. 
  • Reintroducing landlords' ability to give notice to end a fixed-term tenancy at the end of the term without requiring a specific reason. 

Bishop said the changes will make it easier for "mum and dad landlords to be part of the rental property market".  

He added it will increase the supply of rental properties and apply " downward pressure to rents".  

"These changes are part of the Government's plan to create a well-functioning rental property market, which itself is part of the wider plan to solve New Zealand's housing crisis. 

"We've heard from many landlords that, without the backstop of 90-day 'no cause' terminations, they were unwilling to take a chance on a tenant who may, for example, not have perfect references or a steady 9-5 job." 

He said the Government is committed to ending New Zealand's housing crisis as part of its plan to "get the economy back on track, restore law and order, and deliver the public services New Zealanders deserve". 

"To end New Zealand's housing crisis, we need to use every tool we have to increase supply. These changes, along with restoring deductibility for mortgage interest on residential investment properties, are part of the Government's plan to encourage landlords back into the rental property market to increase the numbers of rental homes available." 

The Government will introduce a Bill to Parliament making these changes in May, with the changes expected to come into effect in early 2025.