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Tribunal applications for rent arrears and termination orders, New Zealand, 2020-21

COVID-19Covid housing report 3Housing & homelessness

In New Zealand in 2020, a national moratorium was legislated that for three months stopped the commencement and enforcement of eviction proceedings on most grounds. Prohibited grounds included the landlord or an incoming purchaser using the premises for their own housing, reflecting the heavy restrictions on household movement imposed by New Zealand’s public health orders. Termination proceedings for anti-social behaviour and other urgent grounds remained allowable, as well as for rent arrears – but only where tenant arrears equated to more than 60 days. Rent increases were prohibited, and the government encouraged rent negotiations between landlords and tenants in hardship, but did not set out a special regime or guidance for them. It also temporarily doubled (to NZ$4,000) the maximum amount lent to tenants under its Rent Arrears Assistance scheme. The moratorium expired 25 June 2020.

This figure shows that applications by landlords for rent arrears and termination orders dropped by 55% and 67% respectively during New Zealand’s moratorium, when compared with the previous quarter. Subsequently, application rates rose only moderately in late 2020, before easing once again in 2021.


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