The winning of a recent test case by Housing New Zealand has far reaching implications for all landlords. The Corporation was seeking more than $180,000 in damages from a drug ring, which manufactured methamphetamine in a Napier state house. The members of this ring, plus the state tenant, have been found liable for the damage to the house. I know that the possibility of discovering such activity in their rentals is of growing concern to members. I am pleased to see that speakers on the subject have been organised by many PIAs for one of their monthly meetings. It is very important to be aware of the signs that such activity is going on and what to do if you discover these.
In my March report, I outlined the five key areas of the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) Amendment Bill (No 2), currently under revision. We have had input into these revisions, both directly to the Minister of Housing and through attendance at a Department of Building and Housing forum on the subject. However, Section 39 of the Bill relating to rental property outgoings, and in particular to the issue of wastewater charges, has not been included in this revision. Andrew King has outlined the continuing saga of who should pay what in relation to these outgoing and the reasons why the proposals in the Bill are already out of date. He has forwarded an amendment to the Minister. To read the details of these issues and the amendment go to https://www.nzpif.org.nz/news/view/53823 . When the revised Bill is reintroduced to Parliament and goes to the Select Committee stage, we will have more opportunity for input.
In his March report, posted on www.nzpif.org.nz, Thomas Chin, the NZPIF political lobbyist, noted that submissions to the Unit Titles Bill were due 24 April. The Federation has written a submission supporting the proposals which:
·Enable a 75% vote in favour of change
·Clarify body corporate operational rules
·Provide for the body corporate to plan for and to fund long term maintenance
·Clarify insurance requirements
·Mandate detailed information for purchasers, including body corporate rules, maintenance plans and audited account details
·Enable the Tenancy Tribunal to be the first port of call for disputes
Thomas also reported that the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee was considering submissions to the Taxation (International Taxation, Life Insurance, and Remedial Matters) Bill, which includes the proposed changes to the rules about associated persons. The Federation put forward a submission on behalf of its members in May 2007. This is an issue of great concern and to read the NZPIF submission, go to https://www.nzpif.org.nz/news/view/53825. We understand that changes are unlikely to become law until August this year.
A good way to keep up to date with legislation of interest to property investors is by accessing the reports written at the end of each month by Thomas. Each report is posted on www.nzpif.org.nz under the news section as soon as it is received.
Last year, we spent quite a bit of time learning about the implementation of the Home Energy Rating Scheme (HERS) and passing on information to members. The scheme was introduced on a voluntary basis at the beginning of 2008, but the change of government prevented the intended step toward making the scheme compulsory. Now the NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development (NZBCSD) has now come up with a similar scheme but with a more complex rating system. This is outlined in their report Better performing homes for New Zealanders: Making it happen available on their website http://www.nzbcsd.org.nz. We have already written to Members of Parliament about our concern that yet another scheme is being promoted as a way of making owners upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties. We do not believe that we need coercion to improve our properties. The NZPIF will be following the debate on these issues closely and keeping members informed.