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27-02-2009

POLITICAL & REGULATORY REPORT for FEBRUARY 2009

RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES BILL – New Consultation

The Housing Minister announced (18 February) that he intends to review and rewrite aspects of the former Labour Government’s Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No 2).

Several of the issues to be consulted on further include:

  • Ensuring landlords are not hit with the costs of damages done by tenants and those they invite into their homes;
  • Clarifying responsibility for outgoings (especially water and waste water charges);
  • Ensuring professional advocates are not used in the Tenancy Tribunal and
  • Enabling the charging of letting fees.

It is understood that there will be a very short period for interested stakeholders to make their views known to the Department of Building and Housing.

Unsurprisingly, opposition to the Government’s plans to change the bill has come from the Tenants Protection Association and the Green Party.

A replacement bill is expected to be introduced to Parliament by the middle of this year.

HOME INSULATION - Announcement

As one initiative in the Government’s plan to help kick-start the economy the Prime Minister announced (11 February) that $124.5 million will be spent on renovating 10,000 state houses and the building of 69 new state houses over the next six months.

Of interest to the Federation, the PM said an insulation program for state houses and for the private sector was a later possibility.

In a related development in Australia, and also as part of a government response to the economic slowdown, the Rudd Government has announced free ceiling insulation for home owners, and subsidies for rental owners Was extended to some 2.2million homes, provided at an estimated cost of AUD $1600 each. 

IRD – Targeting Property

During the month the press reported that the IRD had been especially vigilant and successful in identifying unpaid tax.

Routine property tax audits netted a further $111 million in unpaid taxes in 2008 and $43 million so far this financial year.

More than 5000 property audits have been done and at least five prosecutions have taken place.

Evidently more than 230 property investors have come forward and made voluntary disclosures.

Related, the call for a capital gains tax has again been renewed and rejected.

For the Federation, Housing Minister Phil Heatley and Revenue Minister Peter Dunne made important announcements last month. Both ruled out the imposition of a capital gains tax. They said a CGT was flawed and would hit small investors hardest.

Property Managers Review - Submissions open

The Ministry of Justice has released a public consultation document (13 February) as part of its review of regulation of property managers.

The consultation document can be viewed at: www.justice.govt.nz/property-managers-review.

The consultation document is seeking views on all aspects of the property management industry, but is specifically asking whether there are any gaps in the law relating to property managers that are causing problems for property owners. The review will look at property management services provided for owners of residential, commercial, and rural property.

The review is not concerned with the property owners who manage their own properties, nor does it look at the relationship between landlords and tenants.

Officials aim to complete the review and pass any resulting legislation by November 2009.

Written submissions close Monday 16 March 2009.

 

 

END

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