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How to Stop the New Pet Rules from Going Barking Mad

As the horizon of rental regulations undergoes a transformation, we find ourselves at the forefront of discussions surrounding pet ownership in rental properties. With impending law changes aiming to facilitate broader pet ownership, it is imperative for landlords to understand their rights and responsibilities in this evolving landscape.

The proposed changes stipulate that landlords will require reasonable grounds to refuse pets in rental properties. However, the definition of “reasonable grounds” is multifaceted and poses challenges in its application. Factors such as property suitability, local by-laws, pet behavior, and tenant compliance with proposed conditions add layers of complexity to the decision-making process.

Sarina Gibbon, General Manager of the Auckland Property Investors Association (APIA), emphasizes the importance of striking the right balance between landlords’ interests and tenants’ rights. “Our rental market thrives when tenants enjoy the same rights as homeowners, and landlords have confidence that their properties will be well-maintained,” says Gibbon.

Pet ownership among tenants is on the rise, with pet-owning tenants demonstrating longer commitments to their rentals. Gibbon applauds policymakers for creating solutions rather than roadblocks, but stresses the need for clarity and decisiveness in the proposed legislation. “We want to ensure that the law truly delivers for both landlords and tenants,” she adds.

APIA recognises the potential challenges that landlords may face in implementing the proposed changes. The non-exhaustive list of reasons for refusing pets presents subjective criteria that could lead to disputes between landlords and tenants. Ambiguities surrounding property suitability, pet behaviour, and compliance with proposed conditions risk clogging the tenancy tribunal with unresolved conflicts. “There is no objective measure for propensity to cause damage for example,” says Gibbon, “so it is about putting mechanisms in place to make sure landlords and tenants can deal with those issues expediently.”

To address these concerns, APIA is committed to engaging with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and the select committee to ensure that the final legislation strikes the right balance. Landlords are encouraged to support and contribute to APIA’s advocacy efforts, advocating for clear, decisive, and instructive guidelines that facilitate better functioning relationships between landlords and tenants.

In navigating the path to pet-friendly rentals, landlords play a pivotal role in shaping the future of rental regulations. By actively engaging in advocacy efforts, landlords can safeguard their interests while promoting a harmonious living environment for tenants and their furry companions.

For landlords seeking guidance and support in navigating the evolving rental landscape, APIA stands as a trusted ally, advocating for their interests and fostering constructive dialogue with policymakers.

Together, let’s pave the way for a more inclusive and pet-friendly rental market—one where landlords and tenants alike can thrive.

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