New residential tenancy laws: What renters and landlords need to know
Under the Covid-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Act 2020, the government has significantly altered the law governing residential tenancies.
First, there has been a freeze on rent increases. Landlords may no longer increase a tenant’s rent for an initial period of six months from the date of the beginning of the lockdown on 26 March. After this period the government will determine whether the freeze should be extended.
A rent increase notice issued prior to the lockdown will also have no effect unless the increase had already taken effect prior to 26 March.
Second, the government has limited the circumstances under which a tenancy may be terminated. A tenancy cannot be terminated during the three month period beginning the 26 of March except in specified circumstances which include:
- Where the tenancy is terminated on the initiative of the tenant;
- Where the tenancy is terminated by written agreement between the landlord and the tenant;
- Where a breach renders the premises uninhabitable;
- Where the landlord successfully applies to the Tenancy Tribunal for a termination order on the ground of anti-social behaviour of the tenant; or
- Where the rent is at least 60 days in arrears and the landlord has successfully applied to the Tenancy Tribunal to make an order terminating the tenancy and the Tenancy Tribunal does not decide to refuse an order for termination it considers unjustified.
Every fixed-term tenancy that expires during this three month period will continue as a periodic tenancy.
In summary, the government has placed severe restrictions on the way in which landlords can mange their tenancies. If you would like greater certainty as to your rights and responsibilities regarding residential tenancies, please contact us.
Wage subsidy extension
The wage subsidy extension is part of the government’s covid-19 response and recovery fund. The intent of the extension is to keep employees in work and help support business response to the covid-19 crisis.
We are yet to see the full details of the wage subsidy extension scheme; this is due out prior to june 10. Based on the guidance to date, we have prepared a short summary on the scheme.
COVID-19 EMPLOYMENT GUIDANCE
ALERT LEVEL 1
This summary provides guidance on Level 1 for employers and workplaces.
ALERT LEVEL 2
At this level, we will see more businesses reopening and employees returning to the workplace. However, the rules remain the same – only reopen if you can provide a safe and healthy workplace; utilise alternative methods of working where possible and everyone needs to “play it safe”.
ALERT LEVEL 3
This summary provides guidance on employment obligations and how to prepare for a safe reopening of the workplace.
View: Alert Level 3 FAQ
ALERT LEVEL 4
Here, we set out a summary of the most frequently asked questions on the wage subsidy; essential services; redundancies and more. We have outlined below some employee scenarios we are seeing regularly as well.
View: Employee Scenarios (updated 1 May)
View: Frequently Asked Questions (updated 1 May)