• Labour promise to abolish letting fees, extend notice periods in rental shakeup

    The Labour Party have promised to abolish letting fees and give a more stable environment for Kiwi tenants if they form a new Government after this month’s election.

    Although the policy lacks detail, it’s understood that Labour will adopt the Australian model, where property managers bill the landlord for the cost of finding a new tenant, instead of the tenant.

    If that was the case, tenants may find it difficult to gain shorter term-tenancies, with landlords instead opting for longer tenures.

    But that seems to be the plan. Labour says the rental package has been designed, based on international examples, to get the balance between tenants and landlords right.

    The Jacinda Arden led party would also extend notice periods to 90 days and it would abolish “no-cause” terminations.

    Rent increases would be limited to once a year instead of the current six months, and the formula for increases would need to be set in tenancy agreements so that tenants know what to expect.

    Labour says the rental package has been designed, based on international examples, to get the balance between tenants and landlords right.

    The New Zealand Property Investors Federation disagrees.

    “Labour’s policy does not provide the security of tenure for tenants that they claim” says NZPIF Executive Officer, Andrew King. “It actually protects poorly behaving tenants often at the expense of good tenants”.

    Ardern said if a tenancy agreement was breached, landlords should be able to access the tenancy tribunal and have action taken straight away so Labour would make sure the tribunal would act quickly.

    “Many landlords and renters are looking for secure longer term fixed tenancies.

    “In these cases, we’ll change the law so there is the option of paying a higher bond in exchange for the ability to make a house a home by making minor alternations, like painting a wall or hanging a picture, as long as the tenant returns the property to the state it was in at the start of the tenancy.”

    Labour’s rental policy also includes:

    *Require all rentals to be warm, dry, and healthy for families to live in by passing the Healthy Homes Bill

    *Give landlords access to grants of up to $2000 for upgrading insulation and heating.