Restrictions on Tenancy Terminations Set to End
Crockers | Reading Time: 2 Minutes | June 2020
Current restrictions on tenancy terminations that were brought in as part of the Government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis are to end on 25 June 2020.
From 26 June, landlords may give notice to terminate a tenancy under the standard Residential Tenancies Act 1986 provisions. The usual notice periods will apply from the day a notice is given.
The COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Act 2020 came into effect on 26 March this year. The Act amended the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 to help support the Government’s COVID-19 response by imposing temporary restrictions on tenancy terminations and freezing rent increases.
Associate Housing Minister, Kris Faafoi, says that as restrictions on movement and gatherings have lifted under Alert Level 1, it is no longer necessary or justified to extend the restrictions on tenancy terminations.
While the tenancy termination restrictions will end on 25 June, the rent freeze will remain in place. Landlords will not be able to increase rents until after 25 September 2020.
Although termination restrictions are ending, increased rent arrears assistance through the Ministry of Social Development is to become available from 6 July to help tenants who find themselves experiencing financial challenges.
The two temporary changes to support people who may be struggling to pay rent include increasing the maximum amount payable and making Rent Arrears Assistance more accessible.
This support is available for a range of people, including those who are working, and aims to ensure those who may have built up a rental debt can stay in their homes while they repay the rental arrears.
Rent Arrears Assistance is a one-off payment which needs to be paid back via a repayment plan. Further information is available on the Ministry for Social Development’s website. The temporary changes to rent arrears assistance will end on 31 December 2020.
Landlords are encouraged to work with tenants to come to a fair agreement regarding rent arrears. Tenants who are having difficulty paying their rent are advised to let their landlord know straight away.