New Zealand Law Society - Go-ahead for Residential Tenancies amendment

Go-ahead for Residential Tenancies amendment

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Parliament's Social Services Committee has released its report on the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill with a majority recommendation that it be passed with amendments.

The bill would amend the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. The amendments would include requiring smoke alarms and insulation in rental homes. Tenants would be given 28 working days instead of the current 14 to challenge a landlord's retaliatory termination notice, and the chief executive of MBIE would be able to investigate cases and take them to the Tenancy Tribunal on behalf of vulnerable tenants.

The bill would also provide a fast track for deciding whether tenants have abandoned homes, where a landlord provides enough information to satisfy the tribunal that a property has been abandoned.

The committee report proposes increases in the penalties payable for various unlawful acts.

It also recommends giving landlords a specific right of entry to install and repair smoke alarms and insulation. Tenants would also be required to replace worn-out batteries in smoke alarms.

The Green Party members on the committee did not support the bill.

The bill was referred to the committee on 8 December 2015 with submissions closing on 27 January 2016. There were 706 submissions and the committee heard 57 of these.

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