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Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill and terminating a tenancy

With over 34 percent of people in New
Zealand renting the property they live in,
the passing of the Residential Tenancies
Amendment Bill (“the Bill”) has the
potential to significantly impact the tenant
and landlord relationship; particularly with
regard to ending a tenancy.
One of the reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act
1986 (“RTA”) relates to the tenancy agreement and
how it may be ended. There are two different types
of tenancy agreements a tenant can enter into, fixed
term or periodic. A fixed term tenancy agreement is
where the landlord and tenant agree on a period of
time with an end date, where the tenant will occupy
the landlord’s property. A periodic tenancy
agreement is on-going, until either the landlord or
tenants decide to end the agreement.
Prior to the reforms, to end a periodic tenancy
tenants had to give landlords 21 days’ notice, as to
when they will be ending the tenancy. Landlords had
to give 90 days’ notice to the tenants,
without having to give any reason or
explain why they were ending the tenancy.
Under the Bill, and effective from 11
February 2021, a landlord can no longer
end a tenancy without giving a valid
reason. The specified reasons by which a
periodic tenancy can be ended by the landlord are
given in the RTA and include:
 The landlord issued a tenant three notices for
separate anti-social acts in a 90-day period.
 The landlord gave notice that a tenant was at
least five working days late with their rent
payment on three separate occasions within a
90-day period.
 The landlord intends to carry out extensive
renovations at the property and it would be
impractical for the tenant to live there during that
process.
The Bill also changes what happens when a fixed
term tenancy agreement comes to an end. Under
the new rules, a fixed-term agreement will convert
into a periodic tenancy unless:
 A landlord gives notice using the reasons listed
in the RTA for periodic tenancies
 A tenant gives notice for any reason at least 28
days before the end of the tenancy
 The parties agree otherwise e.g. to renew the
fixed term or to end the tenancy
Some of the drivers behind the changes, according
to Associate Housing Minister Kris Faafoi, are “More
Kiwis than ever are renting now, including families
with young children, as well as older people, and it’s
important that there are appropriate protections in
place for them. Renters should be able to put down
roots in their community and not face the stress of
continually having to find a new home.”
Evicting a tenant on a periodic contract
Given that the requirements for ending a periodic
tenancy under the Bill are met and upheld, it is an
unlawful act if the tenant stays in the tenancy
without the permission of the landlord. If a tenant
stays at the property without the permission of the
landlord, the landlord can apply to the Tenancy
Tribunal (“Tribunal”) for rectification.
If the tenant refuses to leave, a landlord should try
self-mediation first and try to come to an agreement
with the tenant. If an agreement cannot be made the
landlord should then follow the steps of applying to
the Tribunal. These steps are:
 register to apply,
 log in to the Tenancy Tribunal Application online
tool and fill in the application form, and
 pay the application fee ($20.44) online and
submit the application.
The Tribunal hearing will usually be within 20
working days of the application. If you are
successful the Tribunal may order the other party to
reimburse the application fee along with the other
remunerations.

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