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Important Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act for Landlords and Tenants

3 March 2021 Whether you are a landlord or tenant, it is essential to understand your rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act. The Act is in the process of being updated and a number of important changes took effect on 11 February 2021: Rent can only be increased once every 12 months. Previously rent increases could occur every six months (this change took effect earlier, on 12 August 2020).  Landlords must have genuine reasons to end a tenancy, even if...

Virtually witnessed documents, are they valid?

The main purpose of having a witness to a document is to authenticate that the person signing was in fact the person noted on the document. The implementation of electronic signatures was already common practice and with the advancement of technology, was always likely to increase in use. In New Zealand, however, law requires that for an electronic signature to be legitimate, it must comply with the following: The document must identify the signatory. The electronic signature is as reliable as...

Bramwell Bate and the Peak Trailblazer

Last Sunday around 700 competitors of all ages (including a number of Bramwell Bate team members, their partners, and children) took part in the 11th Peak Trailblazer, where contestants run or walk up Te Mata Peak (12.8kms) or undertake the gentler Tainui Trail (3.5 kms). The annual, 100% fundraising event, this year helped out two community groups (Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Te Oranga Pumanawa) and Havelock North Primary. Bramwell Bate was a proud Gold sponsor of the event, as they...

Putting your best foot forward in a booming property market

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a great deal of economic uncertainty both globally and in New Zealand. During the lockdown in April and May 2020 we were all questioning how the housing market would be impacted. Contrary to the expectations of some commentators, the NZ housing market has been booming since the end of lockdown. Whether this is from an increase in Kiwis returning home, new home buyers taking advantage of lower interest rates or people just needing a...

A timely reminder to review your affairs

As we slowly return to our day to day routines following the COVID-19 lockdown, it’s a good time to reflect on the lessons learnt from the paired back existence we experienced during these unprecedented times. One of the overwhelming messages to come out of the lockdown, was an even greater appreciation of our families and our desire to protect them. It is at times like these, that we should take stock of our personal affairs to ensure that in the...

Terms of trade and how registering your security interest can assist your business

The Personal Property Securities Act 1999 (“the Act”) has become a significant part of New Zealand commercial law. The Act created a publicly available record of security interests over ‘personal property’ and has become a tool by which businesses can protect their interests in the event of a debtor becoming insolvent. Personal property is all types of property except land. For example, stock in trade, livestock, crops and vehicles; along with intangible property such as hire purchase agreements, company...

Commercial Leases-The ongoing impact of COVID-19

While Alert Level 1 effectively sees a “return to normal” it is hardly business as usual for many small to medium size businesses that suffered significant financial loss during the lockdown period. Most commercial tenants were able to negotiate some rent relief during the lockdown period, via the no access in emergency clause contained in their Lease, however once restrictions on access to premises was lifted there was no direct contractual or legislative basis for a tenant to seek extended rent...

AML/CFT Identify Verification during COVID-19

Since 1 July 2018, lawyers have been subject to New Zealand’s anti-money laundering regime contained in the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (“the Act”). Under the Act, lawyers must complete customer due diligence (“CDD”) or “know your customer” investigations on clients. During  COVID-19 Alert Level 3 and 4, the ability to identify clients and verify client information in line with AML legislation is proving a challenge. AML supervisors have released a joint statement to provide guidance to AML reporting...