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Tenancy Services Announcement - 25 March 2020

30-Mar-2020 06:07:45

The Minister of Finance announced on 23 March 2020 a freeze of rent increases and an extension of no-clause terminations. This has applied as law through the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Amendment Act. 

These measures will support New Zealanders to stay in their rental properties with a six-month freeze on residential rent increases and increased protection from having their tenancies terminated.

The key changes for landlords and tenants to be aware of are:

  • There is now a freeze on rent increases.
  • A rent increase notice from a landlord will not have the effect of increasing a tenant's rent, unless the rent increase has already taken effect.
  • Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances, regardless of when notice was provided.
  • Tenants will still be able to terminate their tenancy as normal, if they wish.
  • Tenants will have the ability to revoke termination notices that they have already given, in case they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-­down period.

The time frames for the new measures are:

  • The measures take effect by Thursday 26th March 2020.
  • The rent freeze applies for an initial period of six months.
  • The protections against terminations will apply for an initial period of three months.
  • At the end of both initial periods, the Government will evaluate whether they need to be extended. 

Importantly, where a tenant has symptoms of COVID-19, or is confirmed as positive, this is not grounds for a landlord to terminate a tenancy. Nor is a tenant required to notify their landlord if they test positive for COVID-19. However, we encourage tenants to advise the landlord, if the landlord needs to attend the property while the tenant is self-isolating, for example, if the landlord needs to undertake urgent repairs at the property.

For full information on the new measures and what they mean for landlords and tenants, please visit:

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

 

This article is featured in Harcourts' Property Management Focus Issue 3, 2020.

Topics: Property Management, Tenants, Property Management Focus