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New law covers tenants in New Zealand

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Landlords in New Zealand will not be allowed to increase rents or kick out their tenants, except for very specific situations, during the country’s four-week Covid-19 lockdown.

Legislation to this effect was passed this week to ensure tenants wouldn’t suddenly be homeless and without somewhere to self-isolate, the New Zealand Herald reported. However, housing Minister Megan Woods said there was an obligation on tenants not to abuse the situation.

One circumstance in which tenants can be evicted is if they don’t pay rent for 60 days without making a reasonable effort to do so.

“The rent freeze is set to last for six months, and the protections against evictions will last for three months, but both could be extended,” the article said.

Rent increases that were notified before the three-month period began, but had not yet come into effect, would still be allowed.

Any landlord who breaks the new rules could be fined up to $6500 (about R66800) by New Zealand’s Tenancy Tribunal.

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