National make an 11th hour election year bid to bring landlords back

Tenants will soon have to pay out of their own pockets to cover their landlord’s insurance excess if damage to their rental properties was the result of their own carelessness.

The measure is included in a bill introduced by Building Minister Nick Smith as the Government’s promised response to a Court of Appeal decision last year which ruled a tenant did not have to pay damage after leaving a pot of oil on the stove and causing a fire.

The same bill will give landlords easier access to their properties to do a meth test, and allows tenants to immediately end a tenancy if contamination was at unsafe levels – but not if there was only low-level contamination.

The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No. 2) will make tenants liable for their landlord’s insurance excess up a maximum of four weeks rent for damage caused by carelessness or negligence.

I can see so  many things going wrong with this, I can’t be bothered to list them all.  Let’s just say that an insurance product offered to landlords where the excess is miraculously four times a week’s rent so that the landlord has lower premiums will be on the market before the ink on the new law is dry.

Landlords will welcome some degree of claw-back on the power imbalance that exists in favour of tenants.  But it’s come too late to translate into votes for National.


– Claire Trevett, NZ Herald

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