In a surprise move, Government is seeking to amend the RTA to improve processes for resolving tenancy abandonment cases. These are cases where the rent is in arrears and the tenant has vacated the property without giving notice.
This is a matter that the New Zealand Property Investors’ Federation (NZPIF) has been raising for a number of years, along with the matter of tenants who stop paying their rent while continuing to occupy the rental property. The NZPIF is very happy with the proposals.
Currently a landlord who suspects their rental has been abandoned must give the tenant 48 hours notice to inspect the property. Then the landlord must make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal to terminate the tenancy before it can be re-let. If the landlord attempts to take possession of the property himself, he faces a fine of up to $2,000.
The new rules are modelled on the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in Australia. The Minister of Housing, Nick Smith, has proposed a new power for landlords to enter a property with 24 hours’ notice to confirm abandonment. If they believe the property has been abandoned then they must still apply to the Tribunal for a possession order. However there will be a ten working day statutory timeframe for the Tenancy Tribunal to hear these cases.
This is great news for landlords as it will significantly reduce lost rent and allow the property to be re-let sooner.
"A vacant rental property is not just a cost to a landlord, but also imposes costs on tenants as the property cannot be occupied until the previous tenancy has been terminated. The rental market as a whole is negatively affected" says Smith. Read more