Residential Tenancies Act to be revised for pet owners

The changes will give pet owners more options in terms of rental property

Residential Tenancies Act to be revised for pet owners

The coalition government has announced amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act that aim to expand the variety of rental properties available to pet owners, as stated by Housing Minister Chris Bishop.

"Pets are important members of many Kiwi families. It’s estimated that around 64% of New Zealand households own at least one pet, and 59% of people who don’t have a pet would like to get one. Anyone who has ever tried to find a pet-friendly rental property will know how hard it is, so we’re going to make it easier", he said.

Amendments to the Act include:

  • the introduction of a pet bond that can be charged in addition to the existing security deposit; the bond can be set to a maximum of two weeks' rent
  • making tenants liable for any pet-related damage to the property that exceeds fair wear and tear
  • tenants must obtain a landlord’s consent to have pets; consent can be withheld on reasonable grounds.

The government is set to introduce an Amendment Bill in May to implement these changes along with other previously announced revisions to the Residential Tenancies Act.

Regulation Minister David Seymour said that the changes would address the issue of tenants being excluded from rental markets due to restrictions on pets.

"There are tenants out there who would be more than happy to pay a little extra in order to live in their preferred home with their very good boy. More landlords would be willing to allow pets if they could protect themselves from some of the risks", Seymour stated.

He added that the policy would help free victims of domestic violence from obligations to their pets.

"Often, people stay in relationships to look after pets and become stuck. Helping these people find rentals that are accepting of pets will allow them to move on safely and have a brighter future", Seymour said.

The legislation is part of the commitments made in the National-ACT coalition agreement.

"Supporting people to find a pet-friendly rental home is part of the government’s plan to create a well-functioning rental property market, which itself is part of the wider plan to solve New Zealand’s housing crisis", Bishop explained.

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