Can tenants move during Alert Level 4?
Yes, they can but it is a last resort.
The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order, which was passed into law on August 17, outlines two provisions relevant to moving.
Legal Authority – Permissions for essential personal movement within Alert Level 4 area
A person is permitted to leave their home or place of residence to do any of the following as essential personal movement:
(n) leave their home or place of residence if it is necessary to preserve their own or any other person’s life or safety:
Relocating home or place of residence
(o) change their home or place of residence if necessary to use a temporary or emergency home or place of residence (for example, for care while sick or to seek refuge in women’s refuge accommodation):
The legislation uses moving because of sickness and family violence as examples.
You could argue that a tenant who would otherwise be forced into homelessness could fall under ‘preserve their own or other person’s life and safety,’ because shelter is necessary to live.
But in the first instance, property managers should try and keep tenants where they are during Alert Level 4.
Property managers can extend fixed term tenancies until Alert Level 3 is announced or defer termination of periodic tenancies (with both parties’ consent) until the pictures becomes clearer.
By tenancy.co.nz consultant Chris Matthews