Blog » Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act

Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act

Alide Elkink  |  September 5, 2018
Proposed changes

The changes proposed for discussion include:

  • banning letting fees charged to tenants
  • limiting how often rent increases may occur i.e. rents may currently be increased every 6 months; the proposal is to extend the time frame to no more than once a year
  • removing the ability for landlords to end periodic tenancies without giving a reason
  • extending the minimum 42-day notice period that landlords must currently give tenants under a periodic tenancy to at least 90 days
  • banning ‘rent bidding’ i.e. asking prospective tenants what the maximum rent is that they would be prepared to pay
  • allowing tenants to have pets
  • making changes to fixed-term tenancy agreements – either removing fixed-term tenancies altogether or increasing the minimum length of fixed-term tenancies.

What effect are the changes likely to have?

We have no issues with the proposed changes but we do feel that they are unlikely to make a big difference to many rental situations. As property managers we:

  • support the view that the letting fee should be charged to landlords
  • do not increase rents more often than once a year
  • do not terminate tenancies without giving a reason. When we do terminate a tenancy, it is at the request of the owner who wishes to sell the property or have some other specific use for it, or in breach of contract situations such as tenants consistently failing to make rent payments, intentionally causing serious damage to the property, or some other way in breach of their contract.
  • have never been involved in ‘rent bidding’; neither do we know of anyone who has.
  • are not keen to see the ruling about tenants having pets change but only because where tenants have been permitted to have pets (or have had them in a rental property when they have not been permitted to), some pet owners have been less than responsible. Unfortunately, the actions of a few have given all pet owners a bad name.
  • currently operate with both periodic and fix-term tenancy agreements according to the wishes or either or both the owner and the tenant. Many renters like a fixed-term tenancy as it gives security of tenure but not all renters want to have long-term tenancies. Many landlords like fixed-term tenancies because it gives them security of tenants but again, it does not suit all owners.

We welcome changes

While some property managers and owners undoubtedly treat tenants badly not all do. Some of the proposed changes are potentially punitive to property owners. At Nightingales, we welcome any changes that will provide better security and stability for tenants but we must also ensure that protections for owners are maintained.

Talk to us

If you have any questions about this subject or any of the other Nightingale Properties blogs, please feel free to call me on 029 200 3950 or email us at