20 July 2021

Regulations are being developed that support the changes relating to family violence and physical assault.

Most of the changes under the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020 came into effect on 11 February 2021.

There are two remaining changes that relate to family violence and physical assault.

These two changes rely on regulations that are currently being developed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It’s important that the Government takes time to consult with relevant organisations and make sure the regulations are appropriate.

This means that landlords and tenants won’t be able to use these provisions under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 until the associated regulations come into effect.

What these changes will mean

Physical assault

The regulations will provide more detail on the clauses currently in the Act. Once the regulations come into effect:  

  • if a tenant physically assaults:
    • the landlord or owner
    • a member of the landlord or owner’s family, or
    • an agent of the landlord,

the landlord can issue a 14-day notice to end the tenancy. A formal charge must be laid by the Police. The landlord will not need to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal.

  • The landlord must advise the tenant of their right to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to challenge the notice. If the tenant challenges it, the tenancy won’t end unless there is a Tenancy Tribunal order.
  • The regulations will specify the information that landlords must include in the 14-day notice for termination in this situation.

Before the regulations are developed, landlords in this situation can still apply to end the tenancy through the Tenancy Tribunal.

Family violence

The regulations will provide more detail on the clauses currently in the Act. Once the regulations come into effect:

  • A tenant who experiences family violence during a tenancy can withdraw from that tenancy by giving the landlord at least two days’ notice. The tenant will need to provide evidence of the family violence.
  • The regulations will outline what the tenant must include in a family violence withdrawal notice and the acceptable forms of evidence.
  • The tenant must also notify any remaining tenants within two days of withdrawing. The remaining tenants will receive a rent reduction for two weeks following the withdrawal. The law outlines how this should be calculated. This won’t apply if they are paying income-related rent. In this case, the remaining tenants should talk to their landlord.
  • If the person experiencing family violence is the only tenant, the tenancy will end.

Find out more about the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020(external link)

Where to go for help

The below organisations can support people experiencing family violence:

Anyone in immediate danger should call 111 and ask for the Police.

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