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Fact-checking 218-1

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

IMG SOURCE: UNSPLASH

Every since 218-1 The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill was released, there have been several statements made in an effort to summarise the effects of the Bill. Some statements are true, some are too broad-brush and should be qualified while others are entirely false.

We've put together this quick fact-checker to held landlords understand 218-1 better: 

On the effects of the Bill 

218-1 will give tenants more control in their rented homes. 

Yes, but what good is control if rentals become more expensive and less accessible? It is entirely conceivable for landlords to either price the increased risk and lost of control into the rent or remove underperforming properties from the rental pool. 

The Bill will push self-managing landlords towards having professional property managers.

Yes, we can see that. Be mindful of how you select your property manager, this industry is unregulated.


On specific changes being proposed

Landlords can still terminate with a 90-day notice as long as you give a reason. 

False. Your reason has to be sanctioned by the Act. 

Landlords are still able to terminate for rent arrears and anti-social behaviours. 

Untrue on account of procedural obstacles and operational impracticability

Landlords will be criminalised for breaching the RTA.

False.

Landlords can no longer issue 14-day notice for rent arrears. 

False. 218-1 does not amend s56. 14-day notice still stands and you should continue using them. 

Removal of 90-day notice to terminate and change in fixed-term tenancy rules will result in lifetime tenancy. 

False.

Landlords and family members will be less able to move into the rental property on account of a diminished definition for landlord's family.

False. The Bill, in fact, broadens the definition for landlords' family. (expanded notes to come) 

Tenants have the right to assign a tenancy. 

Untrue, there is no automatic right. The Bill nullifies all no-assignment clauses but still requires landlords to consent to assignments.

The Tenancy Tribunal will only suppress tenants' names, not landlords'.

False. TT can suppress names of landlords and tenants.  

Landlords cannot invite or accept rent bidding. 

True but the Bill specifically allows anyone to offer landlords a higher than advertised rent. Would engagement in that conversation or acceptance of the higher offer be engaging in rent bidding? Possible, Tribunal decisions will provide more clarity. 

If a landlord commits an infringement offence, the two-tiered penalty system will take into account all of the properties owned by the landlord and his/her whānau group/extended family. 

False.


On submitting

There is no need to respond to 218-1 seeing that National will reverse it after this year's election. Just go out and vote National in September!

Disagree entirely. You are hedging not only on National winning but the electoral maths still pointing in favour of deregulation if and when National forms a government. Conflating an election platform with a unilateral undertaking to legislate is, in our opinion, a high risk low reward exercise. Also, has anyone checked in with Winston lately? 

There is no point submitting. Ultimately, politicians know that there are more tenants than there are landlords and there are more votes there if they pander to tenants. 

If that is true then there is no need for voting or any other form of civic engagement, we can just use the census data to form governments and determine best policies. Decisions are made by those who show up and based on the showings so far, now is the time for landlords to show up!

 

If you have come across any statements about 218-1 and would like it validated, please email them to admin@apia.org.nz

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