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 will roll over into a periodic tenancy (possibly with no paperwork).
Q. So if we 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. If we want to stay, can we sign another fixed term tenancy instead of it rolling into a periodic tenancy?
A. Yes, many tenants prefer a fixed term tenancy. (After the new fixed term tenancy ends you can still let that tenancy roll over into a periodic if you choose).
Q. What if we don’t tell the landlord we don't want the flat before 28 days of the tenancy ending?
A. Well you keep being liable for the rent (regardless of whether you live there or not) until you do give 28 days notice.
Q. What if half of us want to stay and half of us want to leave?
A. For the tenancy to roll over to a periodic then it needs to be 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. 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 let your landlord know so they can advertise it. If tenants don’t let their landlords know, then there are going to be no flats available to rent.
Q. What if everyone waits until November before they notify the landlord that they don’t want their flats?
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