September 2020


Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020


                                                  Rebecca Cresswell

2020 has been a rollercoaster year.  Covid-19 has dominated our thoughts and major amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act have not received the attention they deserve. Whether you are a landlord or tenant it is very important to understand recent and upcoming changes affecting you.     

Since 12 August 2020 landlords may only increase rents once every 12 months. Furthermore, as enforced during Alert Level 4, there is currently a freeze on rent increases which remains in place until 25 September 2020.

There are also further changes taking effect from 11 February 2021 including:

1.       Landlords will not be able to end periodic tenancies with 90 days’ notice without cause. Landlords will need to have a valid reason that is acceptable under the Act. Some examples of valid reasons include the landlord requiring the property to live in, the landlord being obliged to provide vacant possession to a purchaser, or alterations to the property are to be undertaken. A fixed term tenancy will also automatically turn into a periodic tenancy at the expiry of the fixed term unless the tenant and landlord both agree otherwise.

2.       Rental properties must be advertised with a rental price listed in order to prohibit rental bidding. Landlords will not be able to encourage tenants to bid on the rental for a property.

3.       Tenants will be able to request to make minor changes to the property. Landlords cannot unreasonably withhold their consent for a fixture, renovation, alteration or addition. The Act notes that it is unreasonable to withhold consent for a minor change and a process is provided for approval of requests.

4.       Tenants will be able to request fibre broadband be installed and landlords must agree provided there is no cost to the landlord.

5.       The Tenancy Tribunal will be able to hear cases and make awards up to $100,000 (currently $50,000).

With the first 8 months of the year passing by very quickly we imagine February 2021 will be here before we know it.

Look out for part two of our Heads Up For Landlords covering upcoming requirements under The Residential (Healthy Homes Standards) Regulations 2019.

We are happy to assist with any questions you may have about this. Call Rebecca Cresswell to discuss the above on 03 379 4660 or email Rebecca.