Renters celebrate the end of letting fees

By Jessica Tyson

Renters are celebrating after parliament has passed legislation banning the charging of letting fees to tenants.

Student and tenant Anthony Thompson says the change is great for him and his flatmates because it’s another cost they don't have to worry about.

“Obviously being a student, the less costs involved in being a student is a good benefit so I’m really, really happy about the legislation being passed,” he says.

As a student living in Auckland, he says money will “be able to go on other things like books or stationery or printing costs travel costs, transport costs – anything like that.”

Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford says the change will make a significant difference to struggling families, especially before the summer rental season when tenancies turn over.

“There are significant costs associated with moving to a new rental property, which many families are now forced to do every year," he says.

"When moving into a new rental property, tenants can face up to four weeks' bond, two weeks' rent in advance - and one weeks' rent as a letting fee - in addition to moving costs.”

The minister says letting fees are unfair and they have no economic rationale in New Zealand.

“There is no relationship between the amount of the charge and cost of the services provided," he says.

“Banning the charging of letting fees to tenants is a good first step in improving the life of renters, while we continue our broader review of the Residential Tenancies Act.”