It begins. The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill was introduced to Parliament yesterday on Monday 17th February. Included are a series of reforms on tenancy endings, rent, property changes, financial penalties and more.
Restrictions on Tenancy Endings
The Bill aims to improve tenant’s security by requiring the use of a justified reason to end a periodic tenancy, including new provisions to respond to anti-social behaviour and removing the use of no cause terminations to end a periodic tenancy agreement.
It also hopes to mandate that fixed-term tenancy agreements must become periodic tenancy agreements upon expiry unless both parties agree otherwise, or certain conditions apply.
Increased Financial Penalties
The Bill hopes to improve compliance with the law by increasing financial penalties and giving the Regulator new tools to take direct action against parties who are not meeting their obligations.
The solicitation of rental bids by landlords will be prohibited by the Bill, and rent increases will be limited to once every 12 months.
Tenants Can Add Minor Property Changes
In hopes of making rental properties safer and more liveable, the Bill will allow tenants to add minor changes, such as brackets to secure furniture and appliances against earthquake risk, baby proof the property, install visual fire alarms and doorbells and hang pictures.
Amendment on Parties
The Bill removes a disincentive for parties to use the Tenancy Tribunal by allowing for identifying details to be anonymised in situations where a party has been wholly or substantially successful in taking a case.
Soon the Bill will have its first reading in Parliament. Following this, the Bill will be referred to Select Committee.
If you have something to say about this bill you may be able to make a submission about it before the select committee. Find out more here.
For our thoughts on these proposed changes read our article What We Think of the Proposed 2020 Tenancy Law Changes.
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