If you have been going past our premises at 16 Market Street over the last few weeks, you will have noticed a hive of activity next door, at number 14.
In anticipation of our relocation to new premises 14 Market Street has been undergoing some renovations and we are very excited to be moving in late September, in fact, by the time this newsletter is published we will have moved!
We will have a couple of interview rooms which will afford more privacy for our clients and will be a welcome change, for clients and staff alike!
Check out our Facebook page for photos of our new home.
We would like to share with you that a long serving member of our team was awarded a certificate for providing Legal Education in our community.
Marion has resurrected the “lunch Time Law at the Library” with much success, as well as organising other major workshops and seminars.
Well done Marion!
Community Law - Out and about
Havelock – In August CLM’s resident education officer Marion held a session at Havelock, organised with Hans Neilson, Community Development Officer. Although the group was small, they were an interested and enthusiastic audience.
Topics covered in this session included Neighbour issues particularly in relation to animals, a little about CLM and what we do and also setting up community organisations such as charitable trusts and incorporated societies.
Picton – In September Stacey O’Neill, CLM’s youth representative attended Queen Charlotte College to present a seminar on renting.
This seminar targeted youth with the aim of informing them of the rights of the tenant and what responsibilities the tenant has. An important part of this is knowing the landlords responsibilities and how to ensure the landlord is performing their obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA).
Lunch Time Law at the Library
This programme continues. Lunch time law is aimed at members of the public and is free to attend.
Topics for the October sessions include tenancy and boarding.
In November the focus is on immigration law, and the last two sessions for the year will focus on setting up a charitable trust.
Many of these sessions will be hosted by guest presenters who are expert in these areas of law, so make sure you get along to the Marlborough District Library to have all your questions answered on these topical issues!
Our Retirement Village & Residential Care Seminar was held in August – with a great turnout. In fact the seminar proved so popular CLM was not able to cater for all those who expressed an interest in attending.
Because of this another seminar has been planned for October. This will cover the same topics as the August session, and will be held at our new premises
14 Market Street. The date for the second session is 21 October.
Please phone to register your interest. PH: 03 5779919
Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill
In July 2015 the government announced changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA). These changes came about following a warrant of fitness trial scheme in 2014.
The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (the Bill) will be introduced to parliament in October 2015 and a process of public consultation on the details of smoke alarms and insulation standards will follow. By early 2016 the Bill is scheduled to become law.
The effects of the changes are in summary:
All residential tenancies will have to be fitted with smoke alarms.
Tenants will be responsible for notifying the landlord of any defects with the smoke alarm and supplying batteries.
Photo electric alarms must be fitted where there is no existing smoke alarm(s).
Existing smoke alarms will have to be replaced with photoelectric alarms, at the end of their life span.
All residential rentals (with some limited exceptions) must be fitted with underfloor and ceiling insulation. This requirement will be phased in – social housing (where income related rent is charged) have until July 2016 to comply; the remainder of the residential rental market must be compliant by July 2019.
The exceptions to the insulation rules apply where it is the landlords intention to demolish the premises within 12 months of the commencement of the tenancy and the landlord has evidence of this, for example a building consent. Residential rentals will also be exempt, it if is impractical to retrofit the insulation or the property has sold and is immediately rented back to the owner/occupier for a period of up to 12 months.
From July 2016 all new tenancy agreements must include a statement from the landlord or property manager regarding the extent of insulation in the property (including the ceiling underfloor and walls).
The time-frame for making an application to the Tenancy Tribunal on the grounds of retaliatory notice has been extended from 14 to 28 days.
Severe alleged breaches of the Residential Tenancies Act 1984 will allow MBIE to investigate and take action directly. Currently MBIE can only take action on behalf of a tenant, and the tenant is required to provide evidence in support of the allegations. Severe breaches of the RTA and where there is a risk to a tenants health and safety will trigger the threshold for MBIE to take this action.
Procedures for dealing with tenancy abandonment will be streamlined. The Tenancy Tribunal will have a statutory 10 day time frame to hear such cases. These cases may be heard on the papers (parties are not required to give their evidence at the hearing, instead, the adjudicator will be able to make a decision on the ‘papers’ before them). Landlords will be able to enter premises with 24 hours notice to confirm abandonment.
Of course existing protections remain for tenants to exercise their rights. Nothing changes the landlord’s obligation to “comply with all requirements in respect of buildings, health, and safety under any enactment so far as they apply to the premises.” (s45(c)).
In addition the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947 remain in force and provide further protection for tenants.
There are a number of government and community organisations who provide information and assistance for tenants. MBIE has great information on its website http://tenancy.govt.nz/. It should be noted this website is designed for both landlords and tenants. The Ministry of Justice has information on the Tenancy Tribunal http://www.justice.govt.nz/tribunals/tenancy-tribunal. Tenancy Support Services http://www.tenancysupport.com/ and Tenants Protection Association (Christchurch) http://www.tpa.org.nz/ both focus on the rights of the tenant. Here at CLM we can also provide assistance on tenancy matters.
Marion Elvy - Case worker and CLM Education Officer has resigned and is leaving CLM at the end of September.
Marion has been part of the team since 2011 and has found it rewarding helping people with their issues, on a one on one basis. During her time at CLM, Marion has noticed an increase in clients presenting with employment issues including seeking advice on perceived bullying behaviours in the workplace and what can be done to address such behaviours. Marion has particularly enjoyed the education aspect of CLM, organising, facilitating and presenting education sessions.
Community Law Marlborough wishes Marion well for the next phase of her life and thanks her for all her hard work and dedication!