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Government keeping an open mind on changes to terminations laws during Auckland lockdown

The Government is keeping an open mind on whether to make changes around tenancy terminations as the Alert Level 4 lockdown in Auckland continues for at least another week.

The greater Auckland region will be at Level 4 until at least September 13, when the settings will be reviewed, while the rest of New Zealand moves to Alert Level 2 as of today.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said there was a question of “uncertainty that is created by somebody triggering an eviction during Alert Level 4.”

“We are taking a look at that to assure ourselves whether or not that’s a widespread issue,” Robertson said. 

“But Alert Level 4 movement restrictions mean the enforcement of an eviction isn’t possible under Alert Level 4,” he added. 

Under Alert Level 4 tenants can only move in an emergency, such as in a domestic violence situation or by court order.

A Ministry of Housing spokesperson told 1 News that evictions can be completed in a region at Alert Level 4, “with the Ministry of Justice working with police and all parties involved to ensure they are conducted safely and in line with all Public Health Orders”, and the evicted tenant has a residence to move into to isolate. 

“Any evictions at this alert level will be the result of Tenancy Tribunal orders,” a spokesperson said. 

They also said given the extension of Level 4, “the Government is exploring options on whether to make changes around evictions”. 

Landlords are still allowed to give termination notices during lockdown, “as long as it complies with the law”.

“However, we ask landlords to remember that lockdowns are a difficult and stressful time for everyone, so if there is an opportunity to deferring issuing notices, we would ask them to consider doing so.”

During last year’s Alert Level 4 lockdown, the Government passed emergency legislation, that in most cases banned terminations, unless both parties agreed, and also introduced a freeze on rent increases for six months.

If you need advice on giving termination notices during Alert Level 4, contact Team Connect Consultancy on 09 304 0853 

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