COVID19 – Announcement of No Rent Increases and No-Cause Terminations

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Announcement 26/03/20 – UPDATED

On the 23rd of March 2020, the Minister of Finance Grant Robertson announced a freeze of rent increases and an extension of no-case terminations in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has been applied as law through the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Amendment Act.

This will help New Zealanders stay securely in their rental properties with a 6-month freeze on rent increases It also provides increased protection from having their tenancies terminated. The key changes for landlords and tenants to be aware of are:

⚠️ There is now a freeze on rent increases
⚠️ Any rent increase notices from a landlord will not have the effect of increasing a tenant’s rent unless the rent increase has already taken effect
⚠️ Terminations of tenancies cannot occur with the lockdown period except where limited and specific justified reasons apply. The Tenancy tribunal will act as a check to ensure these grounds are used lawfully. These reasons are:
– Where the tenant substantially damages the premises
– Assaults or threatens the landlord, the family or neighbours
– Abandons the property
– Engages in significant anti-social behaviour
– 60 days behind in rent, unless both parties agree

⚠️ Tenants will still be able to terminate their tenancy as normal if they wish
⚠️ All tenants will have the ability to revoke termination notices that they have already given, in case they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period

The time frame for the new measures are:

⚠️ They take effect with 24 hours
⚠️ A rent freeze applies for six months
⚠️ Policy terminations will initially apply for three months
⚠️ At the end of the 3 and 6 month periods, the Government will evaluate whether they need to be extended.

Note: a landlord cannot terminate a tenancy because the tenant has been confirmed with COVID-19. In addition, the tenant is not required to notify their landlord if they test positive for COVID-19. We do, however, encourage tenants to advise the landlord in case the landlord or their agents need to visit the property while the tenant is in isolation.

 

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