More money to police property rental laws

The government has allocated $80 million over four years to police the healthy homes standards, fix the bond centre and fund RTA disputes.

In this year’s Budget there are four separate allocations to fund many changes introduced to the rental market.

A $16 million allocation has been made to police the Healthy Homes Standards. This will be used to increase the number of pro-active investigations undertaken ensuring the benefits of raising the standards of New Zealand’s rental housing stock are realised.

It will ensure interventions are targeted at the highest risk areas to maximise harm reduction and to support the most vulnerable tenants who do not have the ability or resources to take action against non-compliance.

The government is also allocating an additional $5 million a year to support the Tenancy Tribunal to manage increasing demand from changes to the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act.

Under these changes it is much harder for landlords to end tenancies.

The budget also confirms the Tenancy Bond IT infrastructure is not up to scratch.

In the budget $18 million has been forecast to be spent over four years for operating expenses. It also allocates capital expenditure of $20 million to improve the ICT system.

“This initiative seeks to address significant ICT risks” to ensure the system of managing residential tenancy bond transactions is “stable, secure and supported and meets the service requirements and customer expectations.” 

The budget also acknowledges the low interest rate environment has impacted funding for the Tenancy Bond service.

Previously the centre was funded by interest from bonds lodged by property investors.

The budget allocates $41.4 million over four years to replace “a non-controllable shortfall in bond interest revenue”.

This will ensure services critical to a functioning residential tenancy and unit title sector can be maintained.

The budget says funding will support:

  • timely access to tenancy and unit title dispute resolution services and processing of bond transactions; successful implementation of tenancy reforms;
  • increased awareness of parties’ rights and responsibilities;
  • and proactive monitoring and investigation of rentals to identify and address systemic non-compliance and reduce the risk of vulnerable tenants being exposed to harm.
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