More updates on property matters

August 27 2018

If you have been following our articles about foreign residential investment, P contamination and warming up Kiwi homes, here are the latest updates on each topic. We’re pleased to let you know there is some good news here.

Overseas Investment Amendment Bill may free up housing

A new foreign buyer screening process looks to be part of the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill, which is currently before the Committee of the whole House, one step from its final reading.

The bill will prevent residential land being purchased by foreign people without first obtaining consent. This includes all people who are not citizens, residents or resident visa holders of New Zealand, Australia or Singapore.

The restriction goes further than buying residential property. It limits ineligible people from entering into long-term residential tenancy agreements of five years or more, or a periodic lease with a certainty of three years or more.

These are the criteria for obtaining consent.

  1. The investor can prove they will increase housing in New Zealand, such as by building apartment complexes off the plans.
  2. The investment will be of benefit to New Zealand, such as situations where the investment creates job or further investment opportunities.
  3. Where the investor commits to living in New Zealand, having spent at least 183 days out of the last 12 months in New Zealand.

There will be a clean break between the new Bill and the current act, meaning there won’t be any retrospective action when the new Bill takes effect, which apples to overseas investors who already own land or who are in the process of buying or leasing land at the commencement date.

Call us if you have any questions about how this might affect you.

An update on P contamination

You may recall we’ve been tracking meth contamination and testing in recent articles. Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor released a report in May this year detailing meth contamination in residential properties, the risk levels and an interpretation of standards.

As a result, it appears the threshold for meth testing may change. Specifically, the report highlights the differing levels of contamination between using the drug and manufacturing the drug. The report recommends using a higher testing level to identify houses contaminated by high meth use.

Current legislation sets the clean-up level at 1.5 µg/100 cm2. A meth lab generally produces a reading of 30 µg/100 cm2 or more. The report suggests a level where cleaning is justified for reassurance, ensuring public safety but reducing the burden on property owners.

Expect to see a review of the current legislation later in the year where the testing threshold is raised to 15 µg/100 cm2, which according to the report, is unlikely to cause harm to people exposed to residual meth.

Call us if you have any questions or concerns.

Warming up Kiwi homes

The government’s initiative to warm up Kiwi homes has a new grant available for eligible low income homeowners and homeowners in low income areas, replacing the previous Warm Up New Zealand initiative.

The new four year programme, Warmer Kiwi Homes, started in July to cover up to two-thirds of the cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation, or to provide ground vapour barriers for concrete floor foundations. To apply, you must have a Community Services Card. Unfortunately, the period where funding was available to landlords has ended.

There’s more good news on the way. From July next year, another grant will become available to cover two-thirds of the cost of buying and installing a heating appliance.

Visit the government’s Energywise website to find out if you are eligible for a Warmer Kiwi Home grant.

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