The New Zealand government is considering an end to the 90-day notice period for tenancy evictions. This change would fundamentally change the relationship between landlords and tenants. The question is: in favour of whom? Given the housing shortage facing the nation today, it’s not surprising that the government would make changes to existing law in order to benefit renters, but is this the way to do it?
The 90-day tenancy eviction notice period has been a mainstay for New Zealand residential rentals for years, so what will change if it goes away? Below, we examine the law, what it means, and how it’s removal will affect landlords and tenants alike.
What is the 90-day notice period?
As it stands, the 90-day no-cause tenant eviction notice period is a law that requires landlords to provide 90 days’ notice if they are terminating a lease without cause. Any notice to end a tenancy must be issued in writing, provide the address of the tenancy and the date the tenancy will end, and be signed by the person issuing the notice. Tenants must provide at least 21 days’ notice if they wish to end the tenancy, even if the landlord has already initiated a 90-day notice. In certain circumstances, a landlord can instead offer 42 days’ notice, typically if the property is changing ownership or property owners wish to live there.
This no-cause eviction rule is meant as a solution for landlords to deal with damaging, disruptive, or otherwise problematic tenants. Landlords’ only other recourse for dealing with such tenants is the Tenancy Tribunal, which requires a formal collection of evidence in order to rule in the landlord’s favour. Such a collection of evidence is often difficult to assemble in situations where neighbours or witnesses are intimidated out of participating in the process. The 90-day clause allows landlords to remove bad tenants without putting neighbours in a compromising position.
What happens if the 90-day clause is revoked?
The biggest change landlords and tenants would face if the 90-day clause is revoked would certainly be that all efforts to evict a tenant would need to pass through the Tenancy Tribunal. This can be problematic for the reasons listed above. Recent studies have revealed that the 90-day clause is used relatively infrequently, and virtually no evidence exists that the clause is being abused.
Conversely, removal of the clause may pressure landlords into becoming more selective about offering leases in the first place, posing a discrimination risk. Meaningfully, the removal of the 90-day clause risks undermining the government’s objective to provide tenants with higher quality rental experiences. Tenants that are damaging a rental property reduce the quality of living for the tenants that follow them.
However, the removal of the clause may also give tenants the right to make their case before the Tenancy Tribunal, returning some power to renters in a market that currently disadvantages them.
Supporting property management
With laws and market changes constantly altering the real estate landscape, managing the pitfalls of rental home and apartment management can be a challenge. Fortunately, Udy Realty specialises in supporting Auckland landlords and property managers. Contact us today to for more helpful insight and support.