Item of Interest, Housing Minister unveils plan to overhaul tenancy laws

Housing Minister unveils plan to overhaul tenancy laws

The government has recently announced an intended reform of tenancy laws.  The discussion document released by Housing Minister Phil Twyford suggests various proposals, such as:

  • Substituting the ability for landlords to terminate tenancies for any reason;
  • Limiting rent increases to once a year; and
  • Better equipping tenants and landlords to reach agreement about pets and minor alterations to the home.

The government intends to seek feedback on the proposals, but some property investors have already declared their opposition to reform.  Andrew King, NZ Property Investors Association executive director, noted there were concerns that “bad tenants” could be protected under the proposed amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act (if passed).  The government has launched an online survey tool available at https://www.research.net/r/rta-reform-survey where the public can pass on their thoughts on the proposals.

Read more about the reform (and its opposition) here:

https://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/housing-property/residential-tenancies/rta-reform

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12114237

Opening exchanges between IRD and Eric Watson heard at Auckland High Court last week

The long-running dispute between the IRD and Eric Watson, a notable businessman, came to a head last week when the opening exchanges of a three-week trial between the two parties was heard at Auckland High Court.  Watson is challenging a determination by the IRD that his off-shore financial arrangements conducted from 2002 amounted to tax avoidance. The IRD had previously determined that Watson’s holding company, Cullen Group, should pay $112m in back-taxes and interest.

Gillian Coumbe QC, counsel for IRD, immediately noted the “circularity” of the transactions in question.  No doubt the company’s involvement in the Cayman Islands played a significant role in the IRD’s determination.  David Cooper, counsel for Cullen, argued the complex transactions were, in fact, for a legitimate purpose.

Read more about the case here:

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12112843

 

By

Jovana Nedeljkov