Coronavirus COVID-19 - Changes to the Property Law Act 2007


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COVID-19 - Changes to the Property Law Act 2007 

The Government has announced temporary changes to the notice provisions under the Property Law Act 2007 (PLA) to assist mortgagors and tenants, by providing more time to enable them to pay arrears before mortgagees, receivers and landlords are able to take enforcement action. These changes are intended to apply retrospectively.

Extension of Notice Periods.

Currently, under the PLA, a commercial landlord can cancel a lease where rent is unpaid for not less than 10 working days, the landlord has served a notice of the breach that specifies a period of not less than 10 working days to remedy the breach, and the lessee does not remedy the breach by the end of the specified period.

The proposed Bill will extend both of these timeframes from 10 working days to 30 working days (although the periods can overlap).

The Bill will also extend the period of notice that must be given to a mortgagor before a mortgagee or receiver can take action under its mortgage when the borrower is in default. 

Currently under the PLA, a mortgagee or receiver must give 20 working days’ notice before the mortgagee or receiver can exercise its powers to take possession of, or sell, the mortgaged property. The proposed Bill will extend this period to 40 working days.

These changes apply to all mortgages, whether over commercial or residential property.

The proposed changes also affect notices issued under s 128 of the PLA in relation to mortgaged goods.  Currently a mortgagee or receiver must give at least 10 working days notice for a mortgagor to remedy its default before the mortgagee or receiver can sell the mortgaged goods. This time period will be changed to 30 working days.

When will these law changes take effect?

The Government intends to introduce a Bill to make these changes on 27 April 2020.

The changes will apply to all notices to cancel a lease or exercise powers under a mortgage issued from 10 days (not 10 working days) after the Epidemic Preparedness (COVID-19) Notice 2020 was issued on 25 March 2020 (ie. 4 April).

The law will return to the normal timeframes six months after the end of the Epidemic Preparedness (COVID-19) Notice 2020.

What about notices already issued when the Bill passes?

Once the Bill is passed, notices already issued that specify a shorter period than prescribed by the new rules, will be treated as specifying the new minimum period.

These changes are in conjunction with earlier initiatives (mortgage payment holidays/interest only periods) intended to reduce the possibility of default and are part of a wider government package of business support. More information on the broader business support package is available on Treasury's website: https://treasury.govt.nz/news-and-events/news

 

If you have any questions regarding the changes, ABMM has an experienced Commercial and Property Team that is happy to assist.

Please contact:

contact@abmm.co.nz or call 06 757 5183

 

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