The latest figures for the Tenancy Tribunal have been released for November. The statistics show that the majority of applications to the Tribunal are made by landlords and are for rent arrears and bond refunds.
“A separate division of the Tenancy Tribunal specific to rent arrears and bond refunds (and where there are no other issues), will speed up the process and eliminate the need for court time and costs,” says Sharon Cullwick, NZPIF Executive Officer.
From 1 July to 30 September 2020, there were 5,548 applications to the Tenancy Tribunal waiting for a judgment to be made. Of these cases, 76% were from landlords and 24% from tenants, with the largest proportion of cases coming from the Auckland area (38.52%), followed by Christchurch (8.44%), Hamilton (4.60%), and Wellington (4.56%).
The Tenancy Tribunal is a dispute resolution system where both tenants and landlords can take an issue to be solved. The Tribunal will hear both sides of the argument and can issue to either party a legally binding order to settle the dispute
The Tenancy Tribunal is a division of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Housing, and scheduling for tenancy tribunal hearings is organised through the Ministry of Justice. Although Tribunal hearings are less formal than regular court hearings, they still follow legal rules and procedures. Disputes usually take 20 working days from the application until the hearing date, and in some cases, it can take up to 6 weeks. Court times are booked for hearings, and these are allocated per area. The Auckland area has 309 sitting days (37%) of the country’s total.
Rent arrears amounted to 3,107 (73.5%) of applications by landlords followed by bond refunds with a total of 2,172 (51.38%). There were 2,091 termination/possession cases (49.47%) and 1,397 cases about compensation/Damages (33.05%). (Note there are more disputes than applications, as a single application can be about a number of different disputes).
Taking these latest figures into consideration, the NZPIF maintains that the development of a separate division of the Tenancy Tribunal to deal with the 5,279 rent arrears and bond refund cases would significantly ease the pressure on adjudicators as well as achieving a considerable reduction of the time waiting for decisions. It is essential to work towards these outcomes and benefit all the participants.