Many changes have occurred to the rental property industry over the last few years. The NZ Property Investors Federation has been extremely active in providing a voice for rental property providers. It has been hard work; however it is pleasing to start seeing some good results.
It appeared that the Government and their Tax Working Group (TWG)v was determined to see a Capital Gains Tax, with many picking it would only apply to rental property. A TWG background paper further pointed to this by claiming that rental property didn’t pay as much tax as other assets.
The NZPIF commissioned economic consultants, Morgan Wallace, to examine this assumption. Morgan Wallace found that the study was flawed and rental property paid the same, if not more, than other asset classes that increased in value.
We presented this to the TWG who graciously admitted that their study was wrong. This action, complemented with media reports and meeting with Policy Advisors and Members of Parliament, meant that a Capital Gains Tax appears to be completely off the political agenda.
There has also been High Court rulings that have led to unjust situations where tenants were no longer responsible for damage they did to their rental properties and minor problems with a rental property building consent could see all rent paid going back to the tenant.
Serious issues with Methamphetamine usage in rental properties were also worked on, with the NZPIF being part of Meth Standards development and work on better protecting rental property owners from enormous losses.
Following our advocacy work, these three issues were all addressed in the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill. There are still some complications from this Bill, such as landlords having to provide their insurance information to tenants, however the environment is now considerably better for the provision of rental property to tenants.
We worked with the Privacy Commission to rework their guidelines on what Landlords could and couldn’t ask prospective and selected tenants. Once we explained the logistics and requirements for needing to know certain information, the Commission was quite reasonable in first withdrawing and then subsequently amending their guidelines to better reflect the needs of both landlords and tenants.
We have not won all our battles unfortunately. The Bright line Test was extended from two to five years, even though property traders usually buy and sell property within a six-month period. Although aimed at property traders and speculators, this measure will actually affect rental property providers.
While we fought against a proposal not to allow rental property losses to be claimed in the year they were made, this is now law, making it much harder to acquire and provide homes for tenants.
There are ongoing issues with the Residential Tenancies Act review, which could see us lose the right to end a tenancy on 90-days’ notice without being required to provide a reason. It is not always easy or possible to prove why you want to end a tenancy, especially when it involves antisocial and threatening behaviour by the tenant, especially towards neighbours.
In order to provide a better environment for people to provide for themselves and their tenants through investing in property, we need your help and support. You can support our work by joining your local Property Investors Association or becoming an Associate Member of the NZPIF for just $25 a year. You will find more information on joining at www.NZPIF.org.nz.