Parliament has passed legislation banning the charging of letting fees to tenants, Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today.
“Around half of all Kiwis now live in rented homes. This change could put up to $47 million into the pockets of Kiwi families each year.
“The law has been changed in time to give tenants a break before we enter the summer rental season when so many tenancies turn over.
“This will make a real difference to struggling families. There are significant costs associated with moving to a new rental property, which many families are now forced to do every year.
“When moving into a new rental property, tenants can face up to four weeks’ bond, two weeks’ rent in advance – and one weeks’ rent as a letting fee – in addition to moving costs.
“With homeownership rates at a 60 year low, this change recognises that we need to take action now to make rent more affordable so people can save to buy their own home.
“Letting fees are unfair. They have no economic rationale and there is no relationship between the amount of the charge and cost of the services provided.
“Banning the charging of letting fees to tenants is a good first step in improving the life of renters, while we continue our broader review of the Residential Tenancies Act.
“Our tenancy laws are antiquated and don’t reflect the fact that renting is now a long term reality for many of our families.
“Insecure tenure can force families to continually move house. This is particularly tough on children whose education suffers when they have to keep changing schools.
“The proposals in the broader review are designed to provide tenants with security of tenure and allowing them to make their house a home, while protecting the rights and interests of landlords.
“Ultimately the best way to put tenants in a better situation is to increase the supply of housing, and end the shortage that is driving rents up. KiwiBuild and the Government’s Urban Growth Agenda are designed to increase supply,“ Phil Twyford said.