Property experts show concern on proposal to scrap 90-day notice

by Roxanne Libatique19 Nov 2019

More and more property experts seem to be unhappy with some of the proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), particularly the abolition of the 90-day “no cause” termination notices.

If the abolishment pushed through, landlords will be required to state why they’re ending a tenancy then prove it at the Tenancy Tribunal instead of being able to just issue a 90-day notice without providing a reason.

The proposal aims to protect tenants, but property experts believe that it could only cause more damage – not only to landlords but also to the tenants’ neighbours.

Peter Lewis, vice president of the Auckland Property Investors Association, said he understand that there is never “no reason” for terminating a tenancy but he believes that the proposed changes would be detrimental to communities.

“If you were living beside a bunch of feral and threatening gang members would you want them to know you’d complained about them? Currently, that can be avoided. But if this change goes through it will put people off doing something about disruptive, antisocial tenants in rental properties. The problem tenants will just stay and the neighbours will suffer – or leave,” Lewis explained.

Read more: Proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act could cause damage

Andrew King, executive officer at NZ Property Investor Federation (NZPIF), aired the same sentiments.

“Tenants groups have managed to convince the public that landlords are using the 90-day notice irresponsibly and, as a result, the threat of ‘no cause’ termination hangs over all tenants. But that is simply not true. It is not logical for landlords to kick a good tenant out and lose the income from their rental for no reason. There’s always a reason for terminating an agreement,” he said.

“There’s nothing wrong with trying to improve security of tenure. But this isn’t the way to do it. This just provides insecurity and confusion for the neighbours of bad tenants and for communities.”

Nick Gentle, who runs iFindProperty, added: “As a property owner, I’m going to become a whole lot more risk intolerant when it comes to who I rent my properties too and, unfortunately, that’s likely to impact on more vulnerable people often. And I’m sure other landlords will too.”

“It’s not about being malicious but you have to be able to protect your property. By instituting this change, the government will just make it easier for landlords to sell their rentals rather than get tenants, who they potentially can’t get out, into them.”

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