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2024 Tenancy Legislation Changes

The Government is proposing a range of significant changes to the Residential
Tenancies Act 1986 which will impact all landlords and tenants in New Zealand.
At the time of publishing, the changes are not yet law and the Amendments Bill is likely to be introduced
to Parliament in May 2024. Should it pass, the changes will take effect no earlier than late 2024/early 2025.

Reinstatement of 90-day ‘no cause’ terminations
Under the current law, landlords can only end a periodic tenancy if the notice provided meets specified criteria, e.g.
demolishing the property or extensive renovations. When the new rules come into effect early next year, landlords will
no longer be required to give a specific reason for giving notice to end a periodic tenancy.

Changes in notice periods – 42 days’ for sale or personal use
If an owner currently gives notice to terminate a tenancy as they require vacant possession for sale-related purposes,
they must provide 90 days’ notice. If they wish to move into the property themselves or provide it to a family member to
live in, they must provide 63 days’ notice. Under the new rules, both these notice periods will return to 42 days’ notice.

Fixed-term tenancies – Mutual agreement required for rollover or extension
Fixed-term tenancies must currently roll into an ongoing periodic tenancy upon their expiry unless the tenant gives
notice for the tenancy to end, or the landlord provides notice under one of the specified criteria e.g. demolishing the
property or extensive renovations. When the new rules come into effect, both the landlord and tenant can give notice to
end a fixed-term tenancy at its expiry date and no specific reason is required.

Introduction of pet bonds and tenant liability for pet damage
Once passed into law, a pet bond (set at a maximum of two weeks’ rent) can be charged to a tenant in addition to their
existing bond. There are other elements to this proposal that have also been indicated:
• Tenants may only have a pet with the consent of the landlord, and landlords can withhold consent on reasonable
grounds. What is ‘reasonable’? No one knows for sure but this may consider details like – the size of the pet vs the
property, fenced vs unfenced section, and previous history of the pet.
• Tenants will be liable for all pet damage to properties beyond fair wear and tear. This means a tenant is fully liable
for any accidental or careless damage caused by their pet, as well as any intentional damage. Currently – accidental
or careless damage first falls under the responsibility of the landlord’s insurance policy, with the tenant liable for the
insurance excess amount only.