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14-10-2010

Avoid tenant issues by knowing the law: DBH

Landlords.co.nz

Property investors are being encouraged to get up-to-speed with changes to the Residential Tenancies Act if they haven't already.

By Maddy Milicich

The RTA amendments came into effect at the beginning of this month (October 1) in a move acknowledging the changing demographics of the rental and property markets since the act was first written in 1986.

In its latest landlord newsletter, the Department of Building and Housing (DBH) says since 1991, home ownership has decreased by 7% to 67% and is predicted to decrease further to 62% by 2016.

Therefore, in order to keep up with the changing rental market and demographics of renters, property investors and landlords also need to get to grips with the changes in legislation.

"People are renting for longer, and the demographics of renters have changed over time," DBH says.

"Since 1986, the proportion of New Zealanders renting their homes has gone up, fewer young people are flatting away from home and older people and families with children are renting."

DBH has a number of tools to help landlords with what their responsibilities under the new act.

Some of those services include:

DBH also gives an update on its dispute resolution service, which has seen over 80% of successful mediations resolved by telephone.

"We're seeing more applications being resolved, with a higher attendance rate among tenants when mediations that are scheduled as a telephone mediation," DBH says.

"Feedback from clients is that this service is really helping to get disputes resolved quicker."

There are still applications that are best scheduled as face-to-face mediations or referred straight to the Tenancy Tribunal, but DBH says these are in the minority.

It says there are three key steps for landlords to help resolve tenancy disputes quickly:

  1. provide accurate and up-to-date contact details for your tenants
  2. provide DBH with their email address and cell phone number
  3. if landlords have made an application and have the tenant with them, they can call direct and DBH will try and mediate the dispute straight away.

Source: Landlords.co.nz

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