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Government laws changes around rental letting fees, effective this week will see rents increase for Central Otago tenants, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says.


“Legislation changes for tenant letting fees, effective from today (December 12), now require landlords to pay the fees associated with a new tenancy. In some cases this could be hundreds of dollars and will occur every time the property is re-rented.


“However, at least one rental management company, responsible for managing a large number of properties across Central Otago, including Queenstown and Wanaka, has suggested to owners they could recover these costs through rent increases.


“This of course means tenants and low income families, the very people who cannot afford to pay more, will be faced with rent increases thanks to this Government’s ill-thought through policy.


“And all this comes at a time when rents are already going up under this Government, with rents in Otago increasing by $27 a week in the past year - that’s $1404 a year that Otago families will have to find, with cutting back on the essentials the only option for some.


“But it gets worse, while the rent increase may cover the letting fee for the first year, if tenants stay in their rental for more years, they’re likely to end up paying more than what they would have with a letting fee.


“That’s because landlords are unlikely to reduce the rent for the second year once the letting fee has been paid off.


“I’m concerned at the strain Government policy changes are placing on families as we approach Christmas and I worry about the stress that many people will feel during what should be a happy and relaxing period.


“It’s disappointing that a Government, which claimed it would support New Zealand’s lower-income households, has now turned its back on these families with rental property legislation changes only costing them more.”

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