The Justice and Electoral Committee is seeking feedback on the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No 2).
Rural Women New Zealand’s (RWNZ) submission supports the intent of the Bill, especially in regards to the protection of landlords and tenants from the harmful effects of methamphetamine contamination. However, there are ways in which the Bill could improve to provide greater protections for landlords and tenants.
RWNZ recognises that the manufacture of methamphetamine is a widespread, clandestine issue in New Zealand. In our submission, RWNZ noted that the lack of police resources in rural areas can make them a target location for methamphetamine manufacture because there is less risk of getting caught. RWNZ also referenced a case study that shows how harmful methamphetamine contamination in homes can be to the health of tenants, especially children.
In order to provide greater protection for tenants, RWNZ suggested that landlords must be held liable to test for methamphetamine contamination before a tenant moves in if requested by the incoming tenant. In regards to the high cost of methamphetamine testing, RWNZ recommended that the Bill be amended to state that tenants responsible for the methamphetamine contamination should be responsible for all costs involved with the damage that are not covered by a landlord’s insurance. This removes an undue burden on landlords, who should not be held liable to pay the costs incurred by methamphetamine contamination.
“Tenants must be made responsible for the damage they cause to the landlord’s property,” says Fiona Gower, National President of Rural Women New Zealand. “This includes the cost of remediating contamination caused by tenants who use or manufacture methamphetamine.”