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How Tenancy Services can help with your rights: Improvement notices and enforceable undertakings

Law changes from 11 February 2021 have introduced new ways to get your landlord to do what they’re supposed to, or to stop doing what they’re not allowed to under your tenancy agreement or the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. The idea is to get your landlord to correct their behaviour, without needing to go to the Tenancy Tribunal.

What is an improvement notice and how do I get one?

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 126H-126M, Residential Tenancies Act 1986, Schedule 1A, s 126J(1)

Tenancy Services can give your landlord notice telling them what rules they’re breaking under your tenancy agreement or the Act (such as failing to give you smoke alarms) with a deadline for them to make the improvement.

Notice can be given for problems that are already happening, or that are likely to happen. It’s an unlawful act for your landlord to ignore the notice, and if they do they’ll have to pay a penalty of $3,000.

If you believe your landlord is not complying with the Act, you can contact the Tenancy Compliance and Investigations team on the Tenancy Services website. To fill out the form online visit www.tenancy.govt.nz and search “Contact the Compliance and Investigations Team”.

What if the improvement notice doesn’t fix the problem?" itemprop="name">What if the improvement notice doesn’t fix the problem?

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 126N-126R, Residential Tenancies Act 1986, Schedule 1A, s 126P(2)

If the improvement order doesn’t solve the problem, an enforceable undertaking is the next step for more serious breaches of your tenancy rights. This involves Tenancy Services coming to an agreement with your landlord about what they need to fix, or pay, with a $1,000 penalty if they don’t comply by a specified deadline.

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Tenancy and housing

Where to go for more support

Community Law

www.communitylaw.org.nz

Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and can help you make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal.

Tenancy Services – Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)

www.tenancy.govt.nz 

MBIE‘s Tenancy Services section provides information to tenants and to landlords. It also provides dispute-resolution services.

Tenancy advice line

Phone: 0800 83 62 62 (0800 TENANCY). Free translation services are available.

Bond enquiries

Phone: 0800 737 666. Free translation services are available.

Information and forms

Tenancy Services provides information and various forms online or you can order forms by phoning 0800 83 62 62 (0800 TENANC)

Applying to the Tenancy Tribunal

You can apply online, or you can get a paper copy of the form from a Tenancy Services office. The application processes are explained at:
www.tenancy.govt.nz/disputes/Tribunal/making-an-application

Tenants Protection Associations

www.tpa.org.nz

Some cities have Tenants Protection Associations:

Christchurch – (03) 379 2297,

Auckland – (09) 360 1473

Renters United

www.rentersunited.org.nz (in Wellington only)

Renters United is an organisation for renters in Wellington. They focus on organising renters and campaigning to make renting better for everyone.

Manawatu Tenants Union

Manawatu Tenants Union provides advocacy and support for renters in the Manawatu region

Phone: 06 357 7435

Email: info@mtu.org.nz

Citizens Advice Bureau

www.cab.org.nz

Phone (0800 FOR CAB) 0800 367 222

Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for information about what local tenancy services are available to you.

Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand)

www.kaingaora.govt.nz

Kāinga Ora, which manages the state housing stock in New Zealand, has a range of information on its website.

Phone: 0800 801 601

Ministry of Social Development

www.msd.govt.nz

The Ministry of Social Development assesses eligibility for the social housing provided by Housing New Zealand and registered community housing providers. MSD also calculates income-related rent for social housing and conducts tenancy reviews.

MSD‘s social housing staff can be contacted through Work and Income offices:

Phone Work and Income on 0800 559 009 or, if you’re 65 or older, contact Senior Services on 0800 552 002.

Community Housing Regulatory Authority

www.chra.hud.govt.nz

Phone: (04) 896 5908

Email: CHRA@hud.govt.nz

The Authority approves and registers community housing providers and monitors registered providers. You can read the register of approved providers on the Authority’s website.

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