Tenancy law reform: What do the proposed changes mean for landlords

The Residential Tenancies Act came into force over 30 years ago for the purpose of governing the rental market but, over the past few months the tenancy law reform has been the topic of debate with property managers, landlords, tenants and policy makers. There has been a lot of discussion around the rights tenants could be given and the lack of control landlords will have if these proposed changes come into place.

Some of the proposed changes that could affect you as a landlord are:

Limit on rent increases
Options put forward for changes to the price of rent will limit rent increases to once every 12 months or allow tenants to challenge rent increases if they are above market rate. Should you want to make alterations or add value to the property, and increase rent to reflect that, you may come up against some challenges.

Modifications to the property
Under these proposed changes tenants will either have the right to make specific modifications or the landlord will be given 21 days to consider a request put forward by the tenant to make changes. There are still many questions that need to be answered like who pays for it? What happens when the tenants move out? How significant can these modifications be?

Allowing tenants to keep pets has always been debated, but for families renting long term-having a family pet is out of the question when the landlord won’t allow, and there’s good reason. Some pets can cause significant damage to the property inside and out. Damaged walls with cat scratches, urine-soaked carpet and backyards full of holes from dogs - we’ve seen it all. By refusing a pet on the property the Tenancy Tribunal could be granted power to make the decision for you. Introducing pet bonds or cleaning requirements sounds good, but how far will they go? Will the cleaning be a full house clean or just carpet? There are still a lot of unanswered questions.

These proposed changes and changes that have already come into effect, have landlords selling up, which is driving up demand, and the price of rentals. Having a lack of control over your property, means a lack of control over the outcome of your investment. If you’re over trying to figure it all out, give Keith Powell a call to discuss how the team can protect your property and ensure good returns.

Nick Phillips