New initiatives to improve tenancy services

Published: Mon 17 Nov 2014 11:30 AM
Hon Dr Nick Smith
Minister for Building and Housing
17 November 2014
New initiatives to improve tenancy services
Changes to the delivery of key tenancy services are set to streamline and speed up processes for landlords and tenants, Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.
“A new FastTrack Resolution service will be available from today to all landlords and tenants to help resolve rent arrears disputes in a faster and more efficient way. A new online system for Tenancy Tribunal applications is also up and running from today, which will reduce processing times significantly,” Dr Smith says.
“FastTrack Resolution means that landlords and tenants who have made a substantial agreement about the repayment of debt will be able to have their agreement formalised by a confirmation conversation, rather than a full mediation. Now a process that could previously take up to 12 days can be completed in as little as 48 hours.
“This will hugely reduce the time it takes to resolve the rent arrears disputes that make up 76 per cent of the 43,000 applications received by the Tenancy Tribunal each year.”
FastTrack Resolution was launched in February this year by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and since then it has been progressively rolled out to high volume Tenancy Tribunal users, including large property management companies and Territorial Local Authority (TLA) housing providers.
“This successful pilot scheme showed that FastTrack Resolution freed up staff to focus on more complex mediations, in turn leading to shorter customer waiting times and better tenancy relationships,” Dr Smith says.
“The new FastTrack Resolution system is part of the Government’s practical improvements in tenancy services. The next priority for the Government will be in upgrading the tenancy bond system to an online service.”
Further information on the new initiatives is available at:
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is FastTrack Resolution being introduced?
The FastTrack Resolution initiative is being introduced to reduce the time it takes to resolve rent arrears disputes, which make up 76 per cent of the 43,000 applications received by the Tenancy Tribunal each year.
2. How does the process work?
•Step 1: The landlord and tenant reach an agreement regarding rent arrears and are ready to have that formalised by way of a mediated Order.
•Step 2: Landlords make an application to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) via its Tenancy Services website, which outlines the agreement made with their tenant to repay the rent arrears.
•Step 3: The application is fast tracked to a Tenancy Services mediator.
•Step 4: The Tenancy Services mediator has a private conversation with the tenant to confirm that the agreement with their landlord was financially viable for them and checks the legality of that agreement.
•Step 5: The agreement is then formalised in a Mediator’s Order and can be sealed by the Tenancy Tribunal if required.
3. What are the benefits for landlords and tenants?
The simplified process now allows for a quicker result for both landlords and tenants; it will encourage more self-resolution between both parties; it will free landlords up from scheduled mediation; and it will allow for better ongoing tenancy relationships between landlords and tenants.
4. What did high volume Tribunal service users involved in the pilot say about FastTrack Resolution?
Following the pilot, Housing New Zealand (HNZC), which makes nearly 9000 rent arrears-related applications each year, said FastTrack Resolution would save thousands of hours in staff time and significantly reduce case loads.
5. How does FastTrack contribute to the Government’s overall programme of work?
The FastTrack Resolution approach reduces the cost and effort of dealing with government for a significant proportion of the service’s users, part of the Government’s Better Public Services Result Areas 9 and 10.
It will also enable staff to be freed up to focus on more complex mediations, significantly reducing customer waiting times for mediation and access to the Tribunal. The FastTrack Resolution pilot shows there will be a reduction in overall waiting times, allowing quicker mediation of more complex tenancy disputes.
6. What other improvements is the Government making to improve Tenancy Services?
The new and improved Tenancy Tribunal application form, which incorporates FastTrack Resolution will help landlords and tenants submit their application form correctly the first time, saving them time and effort in the long run.

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