Proposed change with potential huge impact
Imagine living next door to loud, obnoxious and potentially violent neighbours. If they were tenants then you might
expect their landlord to do something about it and protect you.
Right now, their landlord could end the tenancy with a 90-day notice, which means you wouldn’t have to put yourself
potentially at risk by providing evidence of the tenant’s bad behaviour.
Government, however, is considering changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, which includes requiring landlords to
state why they are ending a tenancy and prove it at the Tenancy Tribunal, rather than being able to issue a 90 day
notice without reason.
It can already be difficult to manage tenants behaving badly and this proposal will make it even harder, potentially
The proposal is intended to improve security for tenants, which is a reasonable and sensible aim. However, a survey of
1,325 rental property owners conducted by the NZ Property Investors’ Federation (NZPIF) found that only 3% of tenants’
tenancies are ended each year through a 90-day notice. Nearly half of these notices were issued for antisocial behaviour
and disturbing neighbours.
This means the proposal will only protect the 3% of tenants who are behaving badly, upsetting their neighbour’s lives.
Although a small percentage of the tenant population, this amounts to around 16,500 tenants around New Zealand causing
“While the vast majority of tenants are decent people who respect others, no one wants to live next to people causing
serious anti-social problems.” says NZPIF Executive Officer, Andrew King. “In my experience, if the affected neighbours
are tenants then they prefer to move themselves rather than risk arguments or threats by standing up for their rights.
Moving isn’t so easy for homeowners, however, and why should good people be forced to move because of the poor behaviour
Housing New Zealand has stopped issuing 90-day notices under the Sustainable Tenancies directive of the Government. This
has made it harder for the agency’s on-the-ground property managers to effectively manage a growing number of poorly
behaving state tenants.
An example of this occurred in Motueka, where an entire street was terrorised by one Housing NZ household for over two
years with loud parties, intimidating behaviour and cars speeding down the road at all hours. Despite many requests to
Housing NZ and the Police, nothing was done about the situation.
If the same policy is expanded to include private rental properties, which make up 85% of all rentals in New Zealand,
many more people other than Housing NZ neighbours are going to have their lives seriously disrupted.
If New Zealanders wants landlords to continue protecting neighbours from the bad behaviour of their tenants, they need
to voice their opinion loudly and quickly.
The New Zealand Property Investors’ Federation represents 6000 property owners and is responsible for educating and
supporting landlords to ensure New Zealanders have access to high quality rental properties.