Important New Tenancy Rules
There have been changes to the Residential Tenancies Act (1986) that affect all fixed term tenancies signed after 11th February 2021. When these fixed term tenancies end they will automatically convert into a periodic tenancy unless the tenants inform the landlord at least 28 days before the tenancy ends. Below are some Q&A that might help with your understanding of the consequences of these changes to the Act.
Q. So can we keep living in the flat when our fixed term tenancy ends?
A. Yes. So long as ALL the tenants want to stay, then the tenancy can continue as either a periodic tenancy or by signing another fixed term tenancy (which most of our tenants who want to stay are choosing to do).
Q. If we don't want to stay do we need to do anything?
A. Yes, you must notify your landlord that you want your fixed term tenancy to end. This must be notified a minimum of 28 days before the end of the fixed term tenancy.
Q. What if we don’t tell the landlord we don't want the flat before 28 days of the tenancy ending?
A. You will remain liable for the rent (regardless of whether you live there or not) until you do give 28 days notice to the landlord.
Q. What if some of us want to stay and some of us want to leave?
A. For the existing fixed term tenancy to roll over to a periodic tenancy then the existing fixed term tenancy documentation must stay the same (ie all the same tenants). If some of you want to stay then talk to your landlord. Maybe there is an option where the ones who want to stay can find some others to move in as replacements (but this would be a new lease).
Q. So if we all stay does that mean the rent stays the same?
A. Not necessarily. If the landlord chooses to, they can raise the rent once in a 12 month period.
Q. Why are there so few flats advertised for rent for next year?
A. Landlords can’t advertise flats until the tenants have told them if they want to stay or not. So if you don’t want to stay in your flat next year then please let your landlord know so they can advertise it.
Q. What if everyone waits until November before they notify the landlord that they don’t want their flat?
A. This would mean that flats would be advertised in November, meaning prospective tenants may have left Dunedin for the holidays without signing a flat, and they may need to travel back to Dunedin to view flats when they are advertised.
Q. Where can I find the wording of the new rules in the Residential Tenancies Act?
A. Here are links to the relevant document where you need to read sections.
Q. Who can I talk to if I don’t understand all this or if I want to know more information?
A. Talk to your landlord, or call Tenancy Services on 0800 836 262