Greater protection under new RTA bill

The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) amendment bill recently introduced into Parliament will give greater protection to vulnerable tenants and help both landlords and tenants enforce their respective rights.

Friday, May 30th 2008, 11:08AM

by The Landlord

“These changes mean it’s essential we achieve an appropriate balance between landlords’ and tenants’ rights and obligations, because the bigger the rental market gets, the bigger its social and economic impact,” Building and Construction Minister Shane Jones said.

Another key proposal will introduce sanctions for landlords who fail to meet their maintenance responsibilities. Landlords will also be able to seek damages for some tenant breaches.

The existing RTA, which came into force in 1986, does not provide adequate protection to those living in boarding houses and some rented retirement accommodation. Under the proposed amendments boarding houses with six or more tenants will become subject to the act, as will some rented retirement accommodation.

Martin Evans, president of the New Zealand Property Investors’ Federation believes the changes to the bill are positive and is encouraging members to make their views on the proposed changes known.

“Currently the RTA is skewed and has an anti-landlord bias so we welcome the long awaited bill,” he says.

“This is a golden opportunity for all landlords to make their views known. NZPIF will be helping to distribute the draft legislation to all its members and encourages all residential property investor landlords to study the draft legislation and tell the government about areas they believe need more work to get it right.”

One aspect of the draft legislation the NZPIF will be vigorously opposing is limiting tenant damages to four weeks' rent.

In summary, the bill:

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