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Tenants and landlords to get better access to broader range of services

15 November 2005: The Department of Building and Housing today announced changes to enhance the way tenancy services will be delivered to tenants and landlords, taking them into many small New Zealand towns not currently serviced.

National Manager Tenancy Services for the Department of Building and Housing Nigel Bickle says the changes are designed to improve landlords' and tenants' access to services and connect to more communities with regular, scheduled visits.

"People in many small towns will no longer have to travel to access services. Internet and expanded phone options will also give tenants and landlords more options for seeking advice and resolving disputes in the way that best suits them.

"Clients will still receive face to face advice or mediation at all existing Tenancy Services locations, with many additional small town locations visited regularly in response to demand.

"The rental market has changed significantly since the processes we use now were developed in the 1980s. There is a high proportion of landlords who own and operate just one or two investment properties and there are more people renting.

"One size no longer fits all and Tenancy Services has developed a range of ways to help tenants and landlords with information, advice or mediation, " Mr Bickle said.

New locations that will receive advice and mediation services include Kaitaia, Kaikohe, Dargarville, Kerikeri, Orewa, Warkworth, Helensville, Huntly, Thames, Paeroa, Te Awamutu, Taumaranui, Te Puke, Ruatoria, Waitara, Wairoa, Taihape, Woodville, Wainuiomata, Takaka, Balclutha and Cromwell.

Services will continue to be offered in Whangarei, Takapuna, Henderson, Auckland, Waiheke, Manukau, Pukekohe, Mangere, Hamilton, Rotorua, Tokoroa, Taupo, Whakatane, Gisborne, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Hawera, Napier, Hastings, Waipukurau, Palmerston North, Levin, Dannevirke, Wanganui, Masterton, Paraparaumu, Porirua, Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt, Wellington, Nelson, Motueka, Blenheim, Picton, Kaikoura, Greymouth, Westport, Christchurch, Timaru, Oamaru, Ashburton, Dunedin, Invercargill, Gore and Queenstown.

People who prefer to lodge a Tenancy Tribunal application on the internet will be able to make online applications 24 hours a day and pay online by credit card.

Phone services will offer advice during extended hours and a service will be developed to resolve simple disputes through phone mediation where appropriate.

The changes developed over the last year have involved consultation with both tenant and landlord organisations including the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, the New Zealand Property Investors Federation and the Tenants Protection Association, and have received strong support from those sectors.

These changes will be implemented from July next year. They will be evaluated at 6 months and 12 months to ensure they are working well.

For comment please contact:

Jeff Montgomery, Operations Manager Tenancy Services,
Department of Building and Housing
04 472 3834 or 027 497 4210

Additional contacts:

Howard Morely, National President, Real Estate Institute of New Zealand
09 307 1700 or 021 965 581

Martin Evans, Vice President, Property Investors Federation of New Zealand
027 222 8286

Helen Gatonyi , Co-ordinator, Tenants Protection Association
03 379 2297 or 027 223 6142