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Don’t let the door hit you on the way out

Written By: - Date published: 12:27 pm, March 7th, 2020 - 163 comments
Categories: housing, tenants' rights - Tags: , , , ,

The government is about to do some long overdue reform of the Residential Tenancies Act. Predictably, the more anti-social among the landlords are not happy.

From Stuff,

Landlords say they plan to sell their properties – or focus solely on the high end of the market – if their ability to end their tenancies with 90 days’ notice is removed.

Specifically, landlords will no longer be able to terminate periodic tenancy agreements for no reason. The government is regulating when a periodic agreement may be ended and the process that needs to be followed.

Hard to see the response from some landlords as anything other than what is known on the internet as a flounce. People making a big announcement about how they’re leaving an online space as if they will be terribly missed. Everyone else usually mocks and cheers.

So what’s the government about to do?

Currently, tenants with periodic tenancy agreements can be given a mere 42 days notice to leave if the landlord wants to sell or move into the house. That extends to 90 days if those aren’t the reason but no reason has to be given. This has never been fair on tenants, but now that we have a permanent housing crisis it’s grossly unfair because in many places 3 months is not long enough to find other suitable accommodation.

The reformed RTA will set out clearly the legitimate reasons for termination of a tenancy agreement (and how it should be done). These are the reasons allowable,

  • the landlord intends to put property up for sale within 90 days of tenant leaving
  • if the property was acquired for business use other than residential rental accommodation
  • the landlord intends to do extensive alterations or redevelopment of the property
  • the landlord intends to change the use of the property
  • the premises are to be demolished
  • the landlord is not the property owner and the landlord’s interest ends
  • the landlord issues three notices of separate anti-social acts by the tenant within a 90 day period and applies to the Tenancy Tribunal (there are rules around how this must be done)
  • the landlord issues three notices of late payment of rent within a 90 day period and applies to the Tenancy Tribunal
  • reasons specific to public housing (unspecified in the document but the Bill is here if someone wants to look it up)
  • the property is needed for the landlord, their family or an employee to live in

It’s not like landlords will never be able to evict tenants. They will need to follow some clear and reasonable rules, just like other business people in civil society.

Stuff again,

Economist Tony Alexander’s latest quarterly survey showed landlords were not impressed.

“Owners are not just saying they will raise rents to reflect various cost rises, but will actively weed out any existing bad quality tenants they might currently have before the legislation becomes effective and it becomes near impossible to remove them,” he said.

“Once in place many owners plan only selecting proven good tenants. Tenants not in work, tenants with bad credit histories, tenants with young children and, solo mothers, amongst others, will now not be considered.”

So solo mothers, people on benefits, and tenants with young kids are ‘bad quality tenants’. This is not housing for New Zealanders, it’s investment schemes that have to manage stock units (with bigotry thrown in for good measure). If you can’t understand that tenants are humans with a need for a home, then off you fuck and free up the house for someone who can figure out how to run a business that doesn’t dehumanise the people the business serves.

Almost half the investors surveyed said they would be likely or highly likely to sell their properties if the change happened.

“One of our biggest concerns is that investors find the proposals too cumbersome, they sell up, reducing the pool of rental properties and raising rental prices even more,” Norwell said.

“Even the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development’s own regulatory impact statement has said that the proposed changes ‘may increase landlords’ business risks and impact on their profit margins’.”

It’s like they live in a bubble where everything revolves around them. This isn’t so much flounce as implied blackmail, if the landlords were children threatening to throw their toys out of the cot.

Housing is a human right.

Business – including individuals and organisations who are landlords – has a responsibility to respect the human right to adequate housing. If operations have a negative impact on the right to adequate housing business has a responsibility to remedy that negative impact.

If you don’t know how to run your business or investment without being a shit to people, then by all means put your money somewhere else. There are plenty of good landlords out there who will not be negatively affected by this, sell to them. 

Meanwhile, the government is taking a range of actions to lessen the impact of the housing crisis, and each individual action and regulatory change needs to be seen in that context.

As for the threat to raise rents, my hope is that once the Labour-led government gets through with the low hanging fruit of regulating tenancy agreements and mandatory rental standards, we can then move on to a conversation about rent control.

The full set of changes to the Residential Tenancies Act can be seen here and here. Summary at the Spinoff. Background on development of the Bill is here.

163 comments on “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out ”

  1. adam 1

    Gone in an hour with the return of a tory government. The essential problem incrementalist face, there so called reforms just keep get rolled back.

    Just look at the last 40 years – the neverending desires of greed just keeps winning. And the fact the media swung behind landlords so quickly, shows just how long this will last.

    It will be waterdown to nothingness, and greed will win again. You can't legislate against greed unless there is political and social will backing it up. I'm just not seeing that.

    • Dean Reynolds 1.1

      The answer is simple – the Goverment becomes the largest single landlord in NZ, setting the standard that private landlords have to follow & building a huge real estate asset that's too big for the Nats to even think of privatising.

      Yes, it will take some time for the Government to build/buy up sufficient rentals to become the biggest owner of rental properties, but now's a great opportunity to start. With all those whining private landlords exiting the market, there's bargains to be had!

      Comrades! Never under-estimate the power of Big Government to do good!

      • Louis 1.1.1

        +100 Dean

      • mikesh 1.1.2

        I have often thought that corporate ownership, whether government or private, would be better than ownership by a lot of 'baby boomers' investing in rental properties in order to save for their retirement. Corporations would have the finance resources to keep properties up to scratch, and also to invest in higher density housing where appropriate. They would also be able to maintain longer tenancies since they would not be under pressure to sell properties 'on retirement' or when those properties were needed for other purposes.

        Corporations would still have the right to evict unsatisfactory tenants who failed to pay rents, or damaged their properties; but they would be better placed to absorb any costs due to these sorts of eventualities.

        Baby boomers, if they wished to invest in residential property, could purchase shares in such corporations.

  2. Brigid 2

    "If you can’t understand that tenants are humans with a need for a home, then off you fuck and free up the house for someone who can figure out how to run a business that doesn’t dehumanise the people the business serves." !!!!

    'off you fuck' Love it Weka

  3. McFlock 3

    Nice post.

  4. David Mac 4

    Do you know someone that owns a house they don't live in? I do too. I know lots. Without exception every single one of them wishes to create a warm, dry, secure desirable home for their tenants.

    Those that do best do approach their ownership as a business. Managing risk is a major part of operating any business. With demand for rentals at their current levels applicants with children, pets, poor credit history, no job etc don't make it to the viewing stage. Owners can select from a range of applicants that will administer the wear and tear of Tinkerbell on their properties.

    Yes, housing is a human right. I don't think it's the responsibility of the Jones across the street from me to provide me with a house.

    There are reasons we are seeing a sky-rocketing demand for state houses by infinitely qualified applicants.

    We live in times when an application that starts with 'I have 3 children' gets read no further. Our govt is pressing on with the medicine for the evil blood sucking landlord bastards (I've never met one) without being fully prepared for the side-effects.

    • SHG 4.1

      Yes, housing is a human right.

      No, it isn’t. Nobody has an obligation to provide me with a house.

  5. Anthony Rimell 5

    @David Mac"

    "Our govt is pressing on with the medicine for the evil blood sucking landlord bastards (I've never met one) without being fully prepared for the side-effects."

    David, as Chair of the Tenants Protection Association in Christchurch I can assure you such landlords DO exist. I have met far too many.

    If landlords are going to dismiss tenants for daring to have children, or life issues, then they are exactly the people we no longer need in the sector.

    The Government has been preparing for an increase in the demand; as have both the faith and the not for profit sectors.

    It would help greatly if Government of a bluish persuasion stopped selling off our state houses every time they get elected.

    For now, tighter rules around tenancies – which frankly are only about being respectful and responsible business operators – are a good start. Landlords bleating that these are too intrusive remind me of nineteenth century factory owners complaining that it was unfair they had to limit the number of hours a week they could work children to less than 40…

    • David Mac 5.1

      Hi Anthony, good to hear from you. I'm sure your role would attract airings of the track records of the worst of the sector. Given that there are hundreds of thousands of landlords in your region, what percentage of them do you think exploit their tenants in honour of just one more dollar? I know 100s, I don't know a crook one.

      Landlords aren't dismissing those that have kids. They love kids but they're choosing the single introverted bookworm 53 year old physiotherapist to live in their house. From a humanity stance, it sucks, from a business stance, I can see why it happens.

      Yes Anthony I agree, the government initiatives to improve housing standards have many merits but I'm concerned about pending no roof situations. When I moved to the Far North 10 years ago there were consistently around 100 rentals available North of Whangarei on Trademe. These days, today, 31.

    • mike 5.2

      the answer is transfer those assets to our pension funds with 30 40 50 year money there very very stable owners indirectly there us

  6. Landlords say they plan to sell their properties – or focus solely on the high end of the market – if their ability to end their tenancies with 90 days’ notice is removed.

    Do they? I'm a landlord and don't recall saying this. They mean "some landlords," and who apart from those individuals cares whether they sell their properties or not? You get the feeling these dumbasses think it's them rather than their properties that are the valuable asset in the rental market.

    • lprent 6.1


      I always wonder (and continue to wonder after reading the poorly written stuff article) where exactly these surveys come from. Certainly I've never been asked – makes me wonder how strongly the surveyors select people to get the 'right' answers

      Since my partner brought her own (slightly worse) apartment and dragged me off to help pay for it, I've been renting out my apartment firstly as airbnb and for a few years now as a yearly tenancy. It is on an annual lease, has a clearly written agreement that the tenants & I worked out

      I have no particular issue with any of these rules. They mirror the ones that I have for terminating the tenancy – they just add putting in the Tenancy Tribunal. The act already has facilities for terminating tenancies when there is damage in the property, and periodic inspections.

      I also can't get over the fuss that some of these landlords are making about selecting their tenants carefully. They either currently don't take care of their assets or they rely on rapid turnover of tenants. I can’t imagine not selecting tenants for my property, in which I have close to half a million dollars invested, without taking a lot of care about who I allow to rent there.

      From the sounds of it, the sooner they remove themselves from the rental market, the more efficiently the market will operate.

      • weka 6.1.1

        the 'I get terrible tenants and can't get rid of them' stuff makes me think some landlords just don't know how to be a landlord. Understanding how to screen applicants, and how the law works in terms of ending a tenancy seem like pretty basic entry level skills.

        • RedLogix

          Which is why property manager are becoming so much more popular now. Still the ruthless professionalism they bring comes at a cost and not just an extra 10% on the rent. They too operate a numbers game and have only so much time and resource to deal with each of a large number of tenants; if you start costing them too much time and effort or look a bit risky in their view, they'll start finding ways to move you on.

          Personally I preferred it when we managed our tenancies directly, but moving to Aus forced our hand. One manager is brilliant, the other is awful but we lack choice in that location.

  7. David Mac 7

    It's not a landlord's responsibility to ensure we all have our human right to a home. In most cases a landlord's primary responsibility is to manage their superannuation policy as best they can, if they fail everyone but the bank loses.

    I recently assisted a friend in securing long-term tenants. He settled on an older couple that live in Auckland and stay at his beach-house for 2 nights every 2 weeks.

    Is he evil for choosing them? It seemed like a logical business decision.

    • McFlock 7.1

      People are hoarding food at the moment. It's not their responsibility to feed everyone else, but hoarders do tend to get their comeuppance during times of great famine.

      There's business logic, and then there's whether something is a dick move.

      So logical business decisions are all well and good, but whether there is much of an official restriction on them depends on how much of a dick move these business decisions are.

      • David Mac 7.1.1

        When your property manager rings you and says "I've got 2 applicants, one a single Mum with 4 kids, lousy credit history, Trademe feedback that is half red faces, has no furniture and wants to move in today. We also got one from the dental assistant that is moving to the district to assist the local dentist."

        When it's your place McFlock, do you make the dick move? Who do you choose?

        • McFlock

          The dick move being addressed by the legislation isn't necessarily picking one over the other (maybe you can't weather the risk to the property, based on some of the reviews), the real dick move is deciding that you can get more off the dental assistant after the single mother has been a tenant for a year so you kick out that family even though they've been perfectly good tenants and paid their rent on time. You might even leave a smiley face review for her, just to placate your conscience at kicking a family out.

          • RedLogix

            The vast majority of landlords will leave a reliable tenant in place, especially one that is obviously settled into the community, rather than risk a new one with all the unknowns they entail. They may well look fine on paper, but you never know how they're going to turn out … or more importantly how long they may stay.

            Any incremental gain in rent can be very quickly lost by one tenant who causes problems, lost rent or even just an extended vacancy for a month.

            In my view your little whataboutism is a very small part of the problem, by contrast DMac's question is a commonplace scenario and rates a straight answer.

            • McFlock

              Except the scenario of picking who to rent to has no relevance to the legislative change, which involves kicking people out without cause. So I suppose the vast majority of landlords have no problem with the proposed changes.

              • RedLogix

                Very rarely will a landlord terminate a reliable tenant 'without cause', there is no rational reason to do so.

                The contentious provision is the removal of the 90 day termination without necessarily giving cause. Given the relative lack of enforceable responsibilities on tenants and the difficulties in obtaining written evidence in many cases, the ability to move on a troublesome tenant is considered an backstop measure, that while used rarely, is important all the same.

                • SPC

                  If there was no ability to increase rent within 12 months, unless there was a new tenancy, and the local market was conducive to raising the rent would there not emerge a rational reason to remove a tenant?

                  Then there is the matter of landlords being able to wield removal power whenever the tenant raised issues with the landlord – which means the two parties are not in an equal relationship.

                  • RedLogix

                    In general any incremental gain in the rent in these circumstances is just not worth the fuss and risk.

                    The same with a tenant who raises reasonable problems with the landlord will likely be treated reasonably. After all if it is a genuine maintenance problem then it will need to be dealt with eventually or any subsequent tenant will likely raise the same issue. Again there isn't much motivation to just turn over tenants for no good reason.

                • McFlock

                  Then the legislation is prohibiting something that very rarely happens, and the vast majority of landlords will not be affected. We seem to be disagreeing as to why we are agreeing?

                  • RedLogix

                    About 3% of tenancies are terminated on the 90 day clause each year; my argument is that most of these the landlord will have an underlying reason.

                    But as for just 'kicking people out' on a whim … there is little motivation to do this.

                    • McFlock

                      So if there's a reason as mentioned in the post, it won't affect landlord or tenant.

                      Job done, no worries, almost no landlords affected. Just the very few kicking people out without a reason. So no problem with the legislation?

                    • RedLogix

                      Not at all. In many cases it is difficult if not impossible to gain the evidence needed to take to the Tenancy Tribunal.

                      In the case of anti-social behaviour the people on the receiving end of it are often very reluctant to write anything down or give formal evidence for fear of further repercussions. They often decide to move on and avoid problems.

                      The landlord certainly cannot, nor should not, monitor what is going on 24hrs.

                      Without concrete evidence the problem tenant can simply dispute and deny causing more delays.

                      The need for three notices within 90 days is also way too short and easily evaded by a tenant who knows exactly how long they have to 'behave' until the clock resets. We once had a problem tenant drag it out for 2 years before we finally resolved matters.

                    • McFlock

                      Ah, the "I know it's their fault, but I can't prove it" justification.

                      Good riddance to it. It was abused by employers, and if it wasn't being abused by landlords there wouldn't be a desire to eliminate it.

                      There's no call to stop landlords putting it in leases that tenants need to drive green cars (or some other stupid rule). You know why? Because it genuinely doesn't happen.

                    • RedLogix

                      No. Landlords are not, nor should be, the police. Anti-social behaviour comes in many different forms and gathering formal evidence is not actually our job.

                      Indeed the legislation requires that we must give tenants 'quiet enjoyment' of their home, something we are particularly careful to do. Snooping about and 'monitoring' stands in total contradiction to this.

                      The one occasion we had to evict in these circumstances, we lost three other tenants over two years to a female tenant with deteriorating paranoia issues. It took some time to understand what was going on, and never did we have any written evidence … but eventually it was crystal clear what was happening.

                      And why exactly should the other tenants put up with this?

                    • McFlock

                      If you're not doing your job, the good tenants take it to tenancy services to prove you're not doing your job. If they can prove you're not doing your job by not dealing with behaviour X, they can give you that proof and you can prove that X is doing whatever. Problem solved.

                    • RedLogix

                      In our experience the other tenants on the receiving end will not engage formally because they don't want more repercussions. They're the ones stuck there living next door to the problem with no clear end point as to when it will end or how much worse things might get.

                      And under the new legislation they’ll be even more certain that nothing will get done, so they’ll cut their losses and move on.

                      You also seem to have a rather odd view of what ‘our job’ is. We are not police, we are not social workers, we are not there to solve personal problems.

                    • McFlock

                      So essentially this is the argument: some tenants don't like other tenants, but can't or won't give actionable reasons why. Therefore, you as landlord should be able to arbitrarily end a tenancy based on your feels as to who you want to leave.

                      And those feels are only very rarely unfair.

                    • RedLogix

                      When you get three different tenants in a row all saying much the same thing, plus reports from other non-tenant neighbours, the picture becomes clear. Indeed in our case we had a lot of empathy for the woman involved and let it drag on longer than we should have.

                      Bear in mind ours was a relatively benign situation, in other cases you're dealing with alarming, unsafe threatening behaviour. The police aren't interested in helping and the Courts don't have a simple process either.

                      So yes in the end you make a judgement call, go for the 90 day eviction and hope that nothing worse goes wrong in that period. It's a last resort, but an important one.

                      Yes everyone involved feels it’s unfair, but your diminishing and erasing of the victim’s concerns here is noted.

                    • McFlock

                      "Victims concerns".

                      Which victims? The tenant with declining mental health, or the tenants who want that person kicked out but won't document why?

                    • RedLogix

                      I'm deliberately withholding all the details we discovered, but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that her behaviour was not going to be tolerated by most people.

                      We are not mental health providers, we have no expertise nor facility to do that safely for anyone.

                      Ironically enough as tenants ourselves, we struck an almost identical situation here in Australia. The scary thing was that being away from home extensively my partner became increasingly concerned for her physical safety (and trust me she’s no snowflake). In this case the property managers and landlord completely kept out of the problem and directed us to the local Court who have a very simple process to deal with it. It was not made into a problem for the landlord to solve.

                      Eventually the outcome was the same, and the woman involved was moved on.

                    • McFlock

                      Here's the thing:

                      1. You have legal obligations to the other tenants.
                      2. Your anecdote says you had lots of reason to have concerns about one particular tenant.
                      3. You also say that you shouldn't be too concerned with what goes on with your property, that you shouldn't be a cop (or in this case a social worker).

                      Currently, you reckon that roughly 3% of tenancies are cancelled ostensibly without cause, but really there is cause. That's what lets you satisfy 1 without breaking 3.

                      But maybe 3 is a naive criterion that breaks down, say, 3% of the time? Fine for most tenants, but not for some on the extremes? If you have multiple unconnected people saying the same thing multiple times, maybe you should put more effort into 1? Both for the neighbours, and for the tenant who is in declining health? Not even with eviction as an objective. Documenting enough yourself so that people who can give that person the help they need know what's going on.

                      edit: I started my comment before you mentioned yours, blasted asymmetric comms

                    • RedLogix

                      You aren't going to like this reply, but the hardest lesson we had to learn in this business is to be clear about what our role is; we provide a home and certain legal obligations around this.

                      Blurring the boundaries and trying to help people with their personal problems always ends badly.

                    • McFlock

                      Yeah, so does leaving things up to the whim of capitalists.

                      You don't need to be a psychologist. But there's a line between that and washing your hands from any interest or responsibility with "Landlords are not, nor should be, the police".

                    • RedLogix

                      There was nothing 'whim' about this situation; we certainly didn't wake up one Saturday morning, rub our hands with evil glee and ask ourselves which tenant we'd boot this month for the sheer hilariousness of it all.

                      But in essence both the landlord and the tenant have responsibilities, and when these are breached the necessary trust relationship breaks down and inevitably a clean break is the solution. If nothing is done problems only accumulate and get worse.

                      Yes as landlords we have a duty of care around the Tenancy Agreement and the commercial contract it creates. But we are not any kind of social service, and if a tenant cannot or will not take responsibility for their end of the agreement, there is very little we can do to effectively help. It’s that simple.

                    • McFlock

                      Again, there's a line between the two.

                      You basically described Marx's theory of alienation perfectly. It's one of his best criticisms of capitalism, imo.

                    • RedLogix

                      And reality has been very unkind to Marx, his legacy has proven to be one of the most toxic ideas in all of human history.

                      And like marxism, your idea of how landlords should be the social guardians of their tenants might sound nice on paper, but works out terribly in practice.

                      Sorry but that's a lesson we learned the hard way.

                    • McFlock

                      Marx's solutions were bunk, but he sure described your attitude: personal interest is subsumed to the level at which one can exploit the other.

                      You complain that the neighbours won't put anything formally, but also that you shouldn't formally check things for yourself because your interest is only financial. Not conducting therapy or social work, mind, simply confirming those things that your other tenants refuse to go on the record about. Because that's not your role as capitalist landlord.

                      If you want to discredit Marx's criticisms of capitalism, show me a capitalist he didn't describe.

                  • RedLogix

                    Again, your ideals about how we should be our tenant's social guardians might sound nice, but in reality every time we tried something like that, it came back to bite us on the arse. I could detail each occasion but I ask you to trust me on this. Unless and until someone is ready to be responsible for their problems, all attempts at 'helping' them are doomed to fail. This is why Marx's solution is bunk.

                    Besides if you are going to place that extra responsibility onto us, what extra rights do we get in order to effective discharge this? Do we get to routinely audit our tenant's finances? Do we get to specify who they can associate with? (A common cause of problems.) Do we get to put a camera in their property so that we can see what is going on?

                    All ridiculously intrusive of course and personally I'd never dream of doing anything like this. Our primary responsibility in this respect is written into the Tenancy Act … that we must ensure the tenant's 'quiet enjoyment' of their home. That's the deal and it works perfectly well for 90% of our tenants over the years. They get a home on terms that suit their situation right now, and we get to invest in our future; there is no exploitation here.

                    • McFlock


                      Social guardian, lol.

                      You insist on going to that extreme to justify the idea that you can't do any investigation yourself if other tenants make an accusation but refuse to go on record.

                    • RedLogix

                      Well how the hell else are we supposed to 'investigate'? We didn't live on site at the time and all we could go by was the reports of other people who didn’t want to put anything in writing. And doing nothing was not an option.

                      Your standard of investigation would see us in the sights of the Tenancy Tribunal quick smart and rightly so. As landlords we simply are not allowed to snoop on our tenants.

                      And if you expect we should support a tenant who, doesn’t pay rent reliably, has an ex who wrecks an expensive sliding door, who harrasses other tenants, who has the drug squad smash the doors down, who steals our chattels and sells them, who blocks the dryer vent deliberately and causes substantial damage to the ceiling, who has five wrecked cars in long grass scattered about … (all not the same tenant obviously), but each time we helped it was seen as a sign of weakness by the tenant to be exploited to the max.

                      You simply haven’t been on my side of the business and really have NFC. In NZ the Police and Courts are of little help and leave it up to the landlord to sort these matters out, yet the law isn’t much help to us.

                    • McFlock

                      You don't need to be a "social guardian" to ask people questions and write things down.

        • weka

          another dick moving is saying in an interview in a national newspaper that solo mothers make bad tenants.

    • weka 7.2

      "It's not a landlord's responsibility to ensure we all have our human right to a home"

      That's right, it's the government's responsibility. Hence them introducing legislation that makes sure our housing stock is in a fit state and managed properly. What's the problem?

      • David Mac 7.2.1


        • weka

          do you mean that tenants having less rights will prevent shortages?

          Isn't your friend creating shortages by renting his spare house out for holiday makers?

          • Psycho Milt

            It's basically the same argument as with worker pay and conditions: ie, if we increase the minimum wage or improve working conditions, employers will hire fewer people. Sounds vaguely plausible at first glance, then you notice that despite the radically improved pay and conditions over the last 200 years we still have low unemployment.

          • David Mac

            Yes weka, my friend is contributing towards housing shortages. He believes he is making the best of his circumstances, it's popular, I'm guilty of doing that.

            When I say shortages I mean a property manager first looking at the number of children box on an application and if anything other than zero immediately sending back the Dear John form letter. Beneficiaries, dogs, smokers, didn't pay for a phone when they were 17, gangster friends on Facebook.

            Right or wrong, property managers/owners are choosing from the other 25 applicants.

            • weka

              I don't get the connection with improving tenants rights. We already have shortages and some landlords already take a bigoted approach, or even just a pragmatic one.

              • David Mac

                Ten years ago there were 100 rentals available in the Far North, today there are 31. Demand has gone the other way.

                Owners used to be able to write investment in their rental off against their income tax due. This simple device improved rentals on the quiet. It's little steps like axing this that have made a rental house a less desirable investment. 10% of Mums and Dads getting out of it would see 1000's of us living in parks. It just takes a little % movement to trend towards the issues that concern me, an Albert Park chocka with tents.

                If rental houses were a fantastic thing to get into rents would plummet.

                • weka

                  ok, so nothing to do with tenant rights and the topic of the post?

                  • David Mac

                    Tenants rights are up against the person holding the keys to the half million dollar asset. Do you want to live in a country where we can say "I demand you hand over those keys now."

                    Forcing people to do anything is an uphill battle. Far better we create an environment that prompts people to want to address the hurdles we face.

                    • weka

                      But the legislation isn't going to allow tenants to force landlords to hand over the key, so I really have no idea what you are saying here.

                      The reason we have this Bill is because landlords were unable to change their practices voluntarily, and in fact have lobbied against improvements for tenants. Social change is often achieved via legislation.

                    • David Mac

                      The Greens latched onto the sort of synergy I speak of.

                      "Landlords, the government will pay half of the costs to insulate your rental property. If your tenant has a Community Services Card, the Government will pay 100% of the cost."

                      Quality policy with a thrust in the right place for a change.

                    • Muttonbird

                      And they didn't do it in droves!

                      A lot still whinged about what was then about a $1500 cost and left it until the last minute at which point it cost a lot more.

                      I suspect this is because they didn't't value their tenants because they viewed them as not worthy of spending any money on.

  8. RedLogix 8

    So if 'housing is a right', exactly whose responsibility is it to provide it?

    • David Mac 8.1

      If the people holding the keys to these half million dollar assets have a pool of applicants so broad they can select a tenant with the footprint of a feather it falls on all of us to see we all have a roof.

      • RedLogix 8.1.1

        Every right comes with an unavoidable and complementary right; then I ask exactly who? The answer 'everyone' simply does not answer the question about the mechanism. Everyone via the state? The market? Santa Claus?

        As for your point, I’d argue that for most landlords (especially those who still operate with a mortgage) the margins are so low, that selecting the lowest risk tenants is now a commercial necessity.

        • David Mac

          Yep, if we all want omelette, we'll need to crack lots more eggs.

          My concern is that we're currently on the path to LA sorts of problems and I'm frustrated by facts like the current levels of govt rent assistance could be a hefty % of a mortgage payment.

          My parents got their foothold in life because as youngsters the govt assisted them into their own place, not with rent money to feather somebody else's nest.

          • RedLogix

            The underlying problem is that there are relatively few places on earth that are truly desirable to live; either from an economic, social or governmental perspective. Demand for homes in these places will always exceed supply, and price is the least worst mechanism we know of to balance the two.

            Unfortunately for some, Auckland just happens to be one of these places.

            • David Mac

              We have been gravitating to cities for centuries. It's where we go to prosper. As robots rent out, wash and review rental cars for damage we are finding ways to operate our businesses and collect Tua Tua after breakfast.

              If you think there is a UBI in our future, why live where the snapper don't jump into the boat and the air wafts carbon monoxide?

              We have oodles of fabulous places to live if we're not hunting down an urban $.

            • KJT

              Leave it to the market, eh, Redlogix? You have swallowed the cool aid.

    • So if 'housing is a right', exactly whose responsibility is it to provide it?

      Same as every other right – it's our society's responsibility, if necessary via our elected representatives. Hence the existence of state houses.

      More to the point, if housing isn't a right, we are collectively saying to homeless people "No-one owes you a place to live, asshole. Find a bridge to sleep under." Let's not be that collective.

      • RedLogix 8.2.1

        So if it is the state's responsibility to provide housing, why would this right not be universal?

        Hint … unlike most people here I have lived for a period in a real Soviet era apartment block, and on the basis of this admittedly thin sample, I can't say the experience would be a big vote winner in NZ.

        • KJT

          I knew several families, including some close family, who lived in New Zealand State houses. I can tell you for a fact, they were nothing like the Soviet ones.

          In fact, ex state houses sell at a premium, especially the older ones.

          • RedLogix

            Decades ago our population was small enough and easy build land still sufficiently cheap that we could build pretty good social housing for a small fraction of the population.

            But what happens when the state tries to provide 'equitable' housing for everyone is another story altogether.

            • KJT

              Yet another good reason to stop increasing the population by 20% in 16 years, and even less years in future.

              And, with 2 million population, state houses were a substantial amount of the total economy at the time.

            • mike

              the current structure is not fit for purpose

        • Psycho Milt

          So if it is the state's responsibility to provide housing, why would this right not be universal?

          It's society's responsibility, not the state's. How we have our society fulfill that right is up to us, and I expect few of us would select the option "govt issues everyone a Soviet-era apartment."

          • RedLogix

            Well yes, but having ruled that admittedly extreme option out, no-one seems to be putting their hand up to detail what they really mean by this feel good phrase 'housing is a right'.

            • KJT

              Redlogix. Sophistry. How we can again provide housing for everyone at reasonable prices has been endlessly discussed, here.

              • RedLogix

                I have asked several times now, precisely what do people here mean when they say 'housing is a right'? Exactly how do they think this universal right should be delivered?

                We've eliminated the Soviet solution … state apartments for everyone. And we excoriate the market at every turn, so I'm curious as to what people really have in mind when they say this.

                I totally agree that any responsible govt should be concerned to see everyone has the opportunity to house themselves, contrary to what you seem to imagine no-one is for poverty and homelessness.

                The solution we have at present is the private sector either provides home ownership or rentals for the majority to the population. For those who cannot meet the criteria of the private sector, we have a public social housing sector. All three sectors are struggling to meet demand in an affordable manner.

                This suggests that it's not just greedy bastard landlords who are the problem, and that improving the tenant/landlord relationship, with clearer and more enforceable rights and responsibilities on both sides of the business …. while a desirable goal I've spoken to for many years here …. is not going to magically solve all housing problems. Nor somehow assure everyone is delivered a home as a 'right'; language that is both vague and ambiguous. It sounds good as a warm fuzzy idea, but lacks precision or boundaries when it comes to any real implementation.

                • joe90

                  Exactly how do they think this universal right should be delivered?

                  Too hard.


                  • pat

                    not a bad description of the the problems of a broad based left political movement….ne'er the twain shall meet

                  • RedLogix

                    All revolutions, from the French one onward, have been catastrophic failures. Their narrow and simple ideologies brought cruelty, devastation and misery to hundreds of millions. Now of course as an informed and capable person you know this fact perfectly well, and that you crave it speaks loudly to your motives.

                    • joe90

                      You've got the wrong end of the stick there, sport.

                    • RedLogix

                      Apologies … I scanned your link too quickly and conclusion jumped. Although I'm still none the wiser as to what you were saying.

                    • joe90

                      Re the OP; tenancy tribunals and rent controls ain't going to cut it because housing is generational, near thirty years to get anywhere close to realising Savage's utopia, it flourished for twenty and in the past thirty years it's withered and died.

                      Exactly how do they think this universal right should be delivered?

                      IMO, with a plan. But as driftglass suggests, with the today's catastrophisers v moderates schism, the chances of a plan are near zip.

                    • RedLogix

                      Well yes that makes good sense. Several decades ago I was probably a bit of a catastrophiser. Now I'm firmly in the moderate camp.

                      In those two decades I've had the extraordinary privilege to live and work in almost 16 different nations and this has had a deep impact on me. As my career in automation expanded I became aware of what an insanely complex and detailed world we live in, on how it is so dependent on an unthinkable myriad of competencies, resources and sheer ingenuity to function. As an result I look at the built world with different eyes to many people. I see ordinary objects, from the mundane like a glass on the table, to the extraordinarily sophisticated like a cell phone, as the result of almost endless chains of detailed technologies.

                      This has tilted my view of the world away from simplicity toward complexity as the underlying driver of our modern world. I accept this can all to easily become an excuse for paralysis … the 'too hard' justification for doing as little as possible.

                    • KJT

                      It wasn't the idealogy. It is the fact the revolutions, almost always, end up with the people most prepared to be violent and ruthless, in charge. Just like the fascist coup, supported by the USA, in Bolivia recently.

                      That, is why we need actual, Democracy.

                      80% of USA'ians want higher taxes for millionaires and Medicare for all, for example, but they will never be allowed to vote for it in their pretend democracy, that is in reality, an Oligarchy.

                      And why we will not be allowed to vote, on whether we want to increase the population by millions in the next 40 years, or lose our jobs with "free trade" agreements.

                    • RedLogix

                      It wasn't the idealogy. It is the fact the revolutions, almost always, end up with the people most prepared to be violent and ruthless, in charge.

                      Read Gulag Archipeligo again. The violence was there right from the start, baked into the authoritarian nature of the people attracted to the ideology.

                  • mike

                    pop the bubble to start with and start again would be a start

          • KJT

            I suspect more than a few living in cars, on the street or couch surfing, would select "Soviet era apartments" as a better option.

            Noting that "Soviet era apartments" were a huge improvement on Tsarist poverty and homelessness.

            • RedLogix

              The vast majority of people everywhere live better lives than the absolute poverty common everywhere 200 years ago; real progress has delivered an unprecedented relative prosperity to the large majority of humanity for the first time in history. So arguing that the Soviets managed better than Tsarist serfdom is a very low barrier to jump over indeed.

              • KJT

                The point is that a large number of people in New Zealand have much worse lives than their equivalents in the 50's to the 80's.

                A marked failure of the more market, so called, "reforms" since then.

                We are, supposedly, so much better off, but we cannot house, feed and look after everyone to the same standard as before. FIFY.

                • RedLogix

                  Fair enough, NZ's economic trajectory since WW2 has gone from one of the 10 top richest nations on earth in the 50's (off the back of UK access for farm products) to one of the lower performing OECD nations.

                  It won't make me popular to say this, but this slide predated the Rogernomic neo-liberalism that so many lefties still point to as the cause of all our evils. It is perhaps better thought of as a ill-begotten response to our declining economy rather than the root cause of it.

                  The root cause was a variation of the old 'resource curse'; we had tens of millions of sheep to export and this consumed much of our economic enterprise. We failed to develop a diverse and productive economy as say for example Singapore was busy doing. When the EU pulled the rug on us we were left flat-footed for far too long. This plus the old tyranny of distance meant that from the mid-60's until around 2010 NZ was going slowly backward. Exactly as you describe.

                  As a tangent I think two things have happened to change this picture in the past decade. The internet has greatly mitigated the challenges of isolation, and low cost air travel has close another part of the gap. NZ is now a much more diverse economy, with an unexpectedly thriving manufacturing and tech sector.

                  And I agree that the hangover of neo-liberalism is still a blight in too many influential corners of our society. But even that is waning as each generation passes.

                  NZ is now on the cusp of whole new round of opportunity; isolation and a benign climate now work in our favour. Our demographics are still evenly balanced and we still have a relatively trustworthy public and business sector. These are all good things and I believe that over the next two decades NZ will probably do relatively well. As a consequence our housing market should start to re-balance itself toward more supply and an improved affordability similar to what we see in Australia.

                  The one factor I would like to see govt pay more attention to (and the Australians have done this better than us) is ensuring the capability and capacity of our building industry is promoted and protected. Our building industry has for far too long delivered palpably poor value for money. This and more intelligent management of land and housing density are long term projects that need a decade of govt leadership to set right.

                  • mike

                    oil shock 1970s compete loss of markets in early 70s bankrupt in 1984 the imf almost arrived muldoon scraped the kirk goverments saving scheme thank national for that.

                    • mike

                      started in 60s national never thought the market access would ever end and made no effort to diversify away from the uk then the door slamed shut

                    • RedLogix

                      Yup. Blaming Rogernomics for everything is simplistic and unhelpful; NZ was in trouble well before the Lange govt.

                    • KJT []

                      So is blaming the lose of the UK, market. People do not realise how little our economy depended on overseas trade before the 70's oil price rises. Even now it is less than we think.

                      It is debatable if trade with UK, was even a net benefit. Like now with China, having to accept shoddy manufactured goods in return for produce.

                    • KJT

                      If we were bankrupt in 1984, then we were bankrupt after the last Government. It was a fictional narrative used to justify the disaster capitalism of Rogernomics.

                      Similarly it wasn't the loss of UK markets that put NZ in the shit, it was the oil price shocks of the 70's. Which Muldoon, for all the other shit he did, was doing what looked like the right thing at the time. Making us less dependent on imported oil.

              • KJT

                Your misapprehension is ascribing advances to capitalism, when in fact they are due to social cohesion, co operation and redistribution. The "rule of law, increasing democracy, educating, feeding and keeping healthy entire populations, and more equal opportunities.

                • RedLogix

                  I never ascribed all progress to capitalism. Capitalism is merely a form of market economy on speed; it intensifies the power of markets and has been an inextricable component of our societies since the Rennaisance. It does of course need moderating to prevent it from running away into absolute inequality.

                  This doesn't discount the role of social cohesion that you point to; trustworthiness is fundamental to all things. Low trust societies are always inefficient and tend toward tyranny.

                  Then there is the pivotal role of science, technology and engineering in producing the core energy transformations which have seen incredible transformations in our lives. 200 years ago 95% of the population worked directly in primary agriculture industry; most people produced only a little more than what was needed to feed themselves. Now the figures are reversed, vast amounts of human labour and creativity are freed up to far more sophisiticated and valuable pursuits.

                  In my view each of these components has played an identifiable role in the creation of the modern world. Each has it's excesses and necessary limits that must be imposed in order to maintain a balanced, healthy society, but singling out 'capitalism' alone as the cause of all our problems strikes me as a simplistic and narrow ideology.

  9. Obtrectator 9

    A little case-history.

    Some time ago a couple of my acquaintance bought a house in a city a considerable distance from their own home. The intention was to move up there and perhaps start a boutique B&B. Family circumstances prevented this from happening immediately. so they put tenants in. Said tenants fell in love with the place and wished to acquire it for themselves. An unexpected windfall enabled them to put in a very good offer, which after a short think was accepted (with some regret, but aforementioned family matters had become still more pressing with little sign of relief in sight).

    So far, so good. But then … oh dear, the promised deposit was not paid on the due date. Pressure applied via the agents through whom the offer had been made. Payment promised, but never put through. Repeat several times. No deposit, let alone full purchase price.

    Two courses of action: (i) take legal action to secure deposit and/or payment for property (a binding contract having been created, after all), or (ii) give tenants real incentive to cough up by giving them notice to quit. (Simply letting things go on as they were was obviously not on. Agent was also keen to secure their cut from the transaction.) Court action was dismissed as too expensive and the outcome too uncertain. So option (ii) it was. And eventually, under that pressure, the tenants caved in and completed the purchase.

    I've simplified the details a little, but that was the guts of it. I should add too that the tenants never fell behind with the rent, although they did contravene the "no pets" clause in the rental agreement.

    But the thing is: under the proposed legislation, would option (ii) still be available were the same situation to arise again?

    • David Mac 9.1

      That's a curly purchase situation, one of 1000's. Renters with access to funds are shopping for their own place.

    • weka 9.2

      "But the thing is: under the proposed legislation, would option (ii) still be available were the same situation to arise again?"

      Do you mean could the landlords use the threat of eviction to get results on something unrelated to the tenancy? No. The point of the amendment is to prevent landlords from being able to do things like this.

      Shit happens every day and finance falls through. Put the house on the market and sell it to someone else if that's what you want. Or abandon the sale and leave the tenants you have in place.

      • RedLogix 9.2.1

        In this case the necessary trust relationship between landlord and tenant had clearly broken down. Doing nothing was not going to be an option, there would simply be more problems down the road.

    • Graeme 9.3

      Sounds odd that they say legal action was 'uncertain' when there's an agent involved and a 'contract'. Normally that contract would be a standard Sale and Purchase agreement from either ADLS or Realestate Institute, which would be pretty watertight and you default on at your peril.

      That this doesn't appear to be the case the whole thing looks a little dodgy, along with using the 90 day provision to force something completely outside the tenancy agreement. Last time I looked there was nothing in a standard tenancy agreement covering the potential sale of the property, or any other commercial transaction, apart from the rental of the property, between tenant and landlord.

      But never a good idea to go into business wiht your landlord, or your tenant.

  10. Cricklewood 10

    Getting the Slum Lords out is nothing but a good thing…

    But if govt is unwilling to have massive social housing stock and with our current population growth we do need to be careful that we don't constrict supply to the point we drive up rents even further.

    To make a small point I have a townhouse with a pretty decent sized mortgage in the 5 years or so I've owned it rents have risen so much the same townhouse rents for @ $150 per week more than my mortgage…

    The whole housing market is broken and unless we can get supply to out strip population growth in big cities nothing will really change.

    I'm sure cheap credit hasn't helped and it for sure isn't healthy that the combo of rising rents and house prices make it damn near impossible to get on the housing ladder without some kind of family assistance to get a deposit together.

    • RedLogix 10.1

      It really depends on where you want to live. How about this brand new 3 bed, 2 bath home in a decent suburb for A$420,000


      The same home anywhere near Auckland would be twice the price. OK so I know you think I'm cheating, but the point is simple, Ballarat is less desirable than Auckland in the minds of most people looking to buy a home, and even though they operate in very similar markets with similar interest rates … the price fundamentally reflects demand vs supply.

      • Cricklewood 10.1.1

        Yep which is kinda my point unless we build faster than population growth and the social housing is there to act as a drag on price rise nothing will change. In fact it will get a whole lot worse.

        • RedLogix

          Well governed nations like NZ, with a relatively trustworthy public and business sector, a low population density, low pollution, good enough schools, and a bouyant economy with opportunity will attract people regardless.

          Such is the demand that if we were too completely lift all our immigration controls, the population would more than triple within a decade. And those at the bottom of the heap today, would be even more firmly wedged at the bottom of an even bigger heap tomorrow.

          Housing is just one part of this story. As a problem it has many dimensions, and no silver bullets. Increasing tenant rights without counter-balancing them with more responsibility is only ever going to be a short-term feel good measure to deal with one small symptom in a bigger picture. But I doubt it will have much positive impact in the longer term.

          • KJT

            We don't actually have to accept every man and his dog, from all around the world, being part of the demand.

  11. Ad 11

    The posts from Weka on this topic have a loathsome lumpen-Marxist Fight The Power attitude to them.

    So let's disabuse ourselves of the "Don't Let The Door …" chippie crap and get some actual facts on the table.

    Landlords aren't some tiny scrooge-like elite. There's about 270,000 of us. Our votes go all over the show.

    There are about 1.5 million households in New Zealand. Those private landlords own about 550,000 rental properties. You can do your own research about how the remainder are divided up between Council housing, NGO providers, state houses, rent-to-own, Maori communal arrangements, state housing, Council housing, retirement villages, etc.

    But roughly of the 4.8 million New Zealanders, about 1.5 million people are tenants. Private landlords are a fraction of that.

    So far as I can se, the government hasn't released anything on the scale of the problem it's trying to fix. That ought to be a requirement for a big legislative and regulatory shift against the most important means of anyone in New Zealand getting ahead.

    Is it the case from the government, that tends of thousands of people are being unwillingly turfed onto the streets because of low landlord regulation? It would be great to see historical stats on this. And sure, everyone's got an anecdote. Anecdotes make really shit law.

    Is the government really able to build enough rental accommodation to actually perform their own duty of care about housing to its citizens? It would be a whole lot better for the government to get its own house – so to speak – in order first by being the provider it ought to be. The waiting list for state housing has exploded to over 14,000 on this governments' watch, and climbing: this government is as bad at housing as they are at transport.

    The current average tenancy length is over two years already. Is there any policy research from the government in which this is too long, too short, just right? Not so far as I can see. Just more shit law.

    So let's get to the wider problems with the regulation.

    The implied contest between right to be housed versus the right to own property isn't going to be solved with the regulation proposed.

    This government has done a fair bit in a term about rental housing requirements, including regulating for warmth and damp, and propped up different welfare levels with higher payments all over the shop. Has there been any evaluation on whether that's assisted rental turnover? Not so far as I can see.

    Now there's some truths to face.

    The first is that much stronger regulations will make landlords ever-choosier. It won't have the effect of supporting the poor. Face it the working class in New Zealand is getting larger, poorer, more returned-from-jail, and sicker. They are not attractive people to have stay for an indefinite period in your second-largest asset. So more landlords will choose with greater scrutiny.

    The second is that the state housing deficit for people needing social housing is just massively expanding under this government. In their last year of the term they've announced fresh funding. Great. The new HNZ is gearing up for greater scale – but FFS give them a term to catch their breath before effectively shifting thousands more from private to public rentals. Even in Mangere – that most deprived and proletarian and Labour-dominant of suburbs – two thirds of the homes being built are private, with only a third going to the public sector. And that criticism comes from the hard left, not the right.


    The third is that the Tenancy Tribunal members are notoriously stacked in the landlords favour. Most of them are leftovers from the Clark administration and are completely of the moist-left brigade because the Key government never got round to looking at their appointments. I do like the increase in fines against landlords that are proposed: that's well sufficient to sort out the tiny fraction of toe-rag landlords.

    What the new regulations don't set out is any greater duty upon the tenants to look after the place for this indeterminate period of time. If you live in my place commercially, it's because you and I have come to a commercial arrangement, not through a right. You want a right, well here comes the responsibility that comes with it. Landlords, again, will just stipulate conditions and preconditions surveys with a helluva lot more detail.

    But the big one is the absence of the Capital Gains Tax. Without it, a house to rent will always the primary way most Kiwis will be able to generate a retirement income or any intergenerational equity to hand down. Plenty of young people now simply buy a house solely for rental, and rent themselves. Owning a rental property is the only way to get ahead in this country – and will be so until there is a government with neither National or Labour leading it. That makes this policy a vote-shifter, and this government runs on too fine a margin to risk that at the election. So that fact is this government is failing to do anything real that would shift the asset class dominance of rental housing.

    This government is a fat bunch of hypocrites on housing, and should sort their own compact of rights with its own citizens before it imposes stringent controls on one small class of those citizens.

    • weka 11.1

      If you think this post is about landlords as a whole, you either didn't read the post or you didn't understand it. Try rereading the first sentence again.

      I rent. My landlords are pretty good. This post isn’t about them /shrug.

    • RedLogix 11.2

      The waiting list for state housing has exploded to over 14,000 on this governments' watch, and climbing: this government is as bad at housing as they are at transport.

      There are two important thresholds in the housing market; the big one is 'do you qualify for a mortgage'? If so then when the time is right you will likely become a homeowner.

      The second lower threshold is 'do you have good enough references to rent in the private sector?' If so then most people will prefer the choice and flexibility of this market.

      And if you don't pass over either threshold then we have the public social housing sector as the safety net.

      All this works assuming that supply and demand are reasonably balanced in each sector, which they are not. Successive govts have run down the public social housing supply, changes in the rental market are not working toward improving supply, and low interest rates, high demand and a building industry that seems chronically incapable of delivering good value all ensure asset prices keep rising.

      There is a toxic stew of reasons why our housing market is not working for everyone, but blaming landlords for all of them, speaks to an endemic resentment.

      But the big one is the absence of the Capital Gains Tax.

      Short answer, Australia has a CGT and Stamp Duty as well, but Sydney and Melbourne both have the same problems as Auckland. There are many ways to address rising prices, but a CGT always struck me as the weakest.

      • KJT 11.2.1

        And, you know what their housing market would be like without a CGT, how?

      • Ad 11.2.2

        I can't speak to the Australian CGT effect, but our own government's Tax Working Group concluded last year that

        "A Capital Gains Tax (CGT) would have a greater effect on rental property prices than rents, but should lift rental yields", according to the report of the Tax Working Group. Feb 21, 2019

        The New Zealand advocacy group Renters United had the same view for the same reason last year:


        We'll probably never know if it would have had an effect in New Zealand conditions now. But that’s what you get with this government: great at moralizing over other people, weak at taking action that could make make a statistical difference.

        • RedLogix

          The large majority of landlords (as opposed to pure speculators) are doing a buy and hold. We have held all of our property for over 20 years and still have no plan to ever sell. Exactly how would a CGT impact us?

          TOP's CCT was a far smarter and more powerful tool to achieve what you have in mind.

          • SPC

            You're not immortal, a CGT would eventually be paid.

            • RedLogix

              But the business can carry on as long as my family want's it too.

              • SPC

                Sure. But then inter-generational wealth has always raised the issue of estate taxation. It would be easy to set an amount (value of the median property value) above which an estate tax applied.

                • RedLogix

                  Well the great thing about TOP's Comprehensive Capital Tax is that it would be collected annually in small amounts. In the case it couldn't be paid (asset rich, cash poor) then it could indeed be postponed until death and effectively become the Estate Tax you have in mind.

                  • KJT

                    TOP's tax ideas seem to me to be an excellent way to make sure most of the housing ends up in the hands of the rich. The opposite of their intentions. CGT is required to broaden the tax base, make it fairer, and make taxation less biased to production and consumption, and more towards taxing wealth and harmful speculation. Not just to dampen the effect the expectation of tax free gains has on housing speculators.

      • SPC 11.2.3

        A CGT would raise revenue (broaden the tax base) and provide some of the capacity for an enhanced housing policy.

      • mike 11.2.4

        there borrowing far to much to income to own a home its a bubble that needs to pop

    • Muttonbird 11.3

      Our votes go all over the show.

      Clearly yours to ACT.

      It would be great to see historical stats on this. And sure, everyone's got an anecdote. Anecdotes make really shit law.

      What else is there to go on when data is deliberately not collected?

      Face it the working class in New Zealand is getting larger, poorer, more returned-from-jail, and sicker.

      Probably something to do with poor security of tenancy over the three decades. Pretty clear if children experience housing stress education suffer. But perhaps this is too anecdotal for you?

      I do like the increase in fines against landlords that are proposed: that's well sufficient to sort out the tiny fraction of toe-rag landlords.

      The only coherent and reasonable point in your comment. Well done!

      Owning a rental property is the only way to get ahead in this country.

      What an awful, awful country we live in if that is the case. That you believe it is quite astounding and, as expected from a resident of leafy Wanaka, totally out of touch with decent, low-income Kiwis.

      If you were ever Left, you could have fooled me.

      • RedLogix 11.3.1

        Ad and I are the type of leftie who don't believe there is much inherent virtue or dignity in poverty and all it's attendant evils. And that includes poverty of spirit.

      • Ad 11.3.2

        All you can do is personalize to a commenter. Pretty sad.

        Always voted Labour.

        You go to the Department of Stats and get them to do their job.

        Adding a "probably something" to a no-fact argument makes your stance worse. Even CPAG does better than that.

        No, it's only an awful country to the children growing up in poverty in this country – and nothing has shifted better under this government on that score either.

        As for your last line, I agree you are easily fooled.

        • Muttonbird

          Your comments invite personalisation because you say provocative things in a absolutist style.

          Ok, then. Labour's not always been Labour.

          Stats have been absent on what makes society tick for some time. Hopeless organisation.

          Your comment was heavy on opinion but light on facts too if you'd care to read it again.

          Thats not what you said. Feel free to correct what you did say if you are having second thoughts about it.

          As for your last line, I just read what's in front of me.

    • SPC 11.4

      Without it, a house to rent will always the primary way most Kiwis will be able to generate a retirement income or any intergenerational equity to hand down. Plenty of young people now simply buy a house solely for rental, and rent themselves.

      I presume you are referring to people unable to afford (the deposit given mortgages are often cheaper than rent) a family home – so rent one of these but seek to save a deposit for a one bedroom flat (which they can move into when their children leave the family home rental home).

      But surely the growth of such a demographic is the reason why government needs to improve both the quality of rental property and the security of tenants.

      I would submit that regulating the rental property market on behalf of workers is now the Labour vs capital issue that unions use to represent in the politics of Labour Party. If you do not get that, then you will end up on the other side, with capital, before you realise how and why.

    • KJT 11.5

      The Government has already added thousands of houses to the State house stock. A marked contrast to National flogging it off, and forcing the poor into Ghettos. Like all major changes it takes time. But it is going in the right direction.

  12. David Mac 12

    Nothing generates a sense of contagious pride for a family quite like being in a position to be able to say "This place is ours."

    Watch that lawn stay trim and give a damn kids prosper.

    • Muttonbird 12.1

      This is weird.

      To say that that those who don't own their house are unable to generate pride in their family and that their kids don't prosper.

      Pretty much consigns 50% of the population to the shit heap in you view.

      I think you have a very right wing concept of the word pride.

      I think your concept of the word sucks.

    • RedLogix 12.2

      Disagree. Most of our 50 odd tenants over the years (I'd roughly guess 40 of them) have looked after their home better than we might have. Certainly the inside; the outside tends to get less attention, but then some really make an effort.

    • Ad 12.3

      Owning property doesn't make you morally superior.

      • RedLogix 12.3.1

        Nor does being a tenant, although that's not obvious from the tenor of some comments here.

        What is true though, is that most landlords are people who sacrifice today in the expectation of a better outcome in the future. And in the long run that does tend to be a superior strategy.

        • Ad

          I just didn't like the "…lawns stay trim…" wankery.

          • Muttonbird

            Sheesh. That's the bit you didn't like?

            What about:

            Nothing generates a sense of contagious pride for a family quite like being in a position to be able to say, "This place is ours".

            Lawns staying trim is a thing tenants can do to encourage kids to prosper. But apparently not owning a home is the thing which condemns them forever…

            • David Mac

              Yes, I was being flippant.

              My point is that our government would be doing much more for our society if $300 a week rent assistance was $300 of a mortgage payment.

              • SPC

                I thought it already was part of the AS. Given mortgage is often cheaper (at current mortgage rates) than rent, the real issue is access through the capital gate (having the savings for the deposit).

                • pat

                  what you are describing is the sub prime mortgage market….are you sure you wish to go there?

                  • David Mac

                    Hi Pat, the sub prime fiasco was on the back of lenders providing mortgages for people unable to make repayments or a high chance of falling into arrears.

                    The ever escalating government paid rental assistance enables people to lead a life of treading water.

                    If that same money and anything more the household could afford was directed to a govt guaranteed and facilitated mortgage, even if it took 2 generations, they're a family nibbling away at a better future and not just treading water.

                    The family's equity and wealth as opposed to a landlord's will grow as the home attracts capital growth.

                    If the family falter in a major way, wish to hand the keys back, ownership could revert to the govt who can place a fresh assisted owner family in the house based on the house's value of the day.

                    • pat

                      "the sub prime fiasco was on the back of lenders providing mortgages for people unable to make repayments or a high chance of falling into arrears."

                      exactly…..how does what you propose differ?

                      Either way you are providing capital to those without the ability to repay and fueling real estate inflation in the process.

                      NZ does not have a housing shortage…its has an affordable housing shortage.

                    • David Mac

                      Hi Pat, the govt are currently providing many families with $600 for rent each week. With a little bit more of a contribution I feel they could have the ability to service an inter-generational mortgage, pay the rates, maintain and insure the property.

                    • pat

                      Think you best do some math for you appear to grossly underestimate what such a policy would cost in terms of a proportion of gov revenues never mind the perverse outcomes it would generate.

                      Currently the Accommodation Supplement costs the gov approx 1.5 billion pa and includes low income households paying mortgages (itself an inflationary and perverse bandaid) and obviously is not meeting its purpose with rising homelessness, housing affordability/availability especially for the lowest quintile.

                    • David Mac

                      Yeah ok Pat. I'm not sure you're getting where I'm coming from.

                      Yes the accom supp, I thought it was 2.2 billion, anyway.

                      For a family dependent on the government for their income, if their rent is $600 a week the government is paying $600 to a landlord on their behalf.

                      Yes, I hear what you're saying about such a system further pushing the market-place in undesirable directions.

                      Do you feel it's impossible to counter those forces?

                    • pat

                      "Do you feel it's impossible to counter those forces?"

                      Not in the medium/long term, indeed much of the RBNZs work is aimed towards it but it will take time.

                      My preference is to assist the RBNZ in its work by substantially increasing appropriate social housing back to the levels last seen in the seventies and I acknowledge the current Gov appears to be making some effort in that direction as opposed to the previous admin which was divesting the public of its housing assets.

                      Of course there may be a rapid change in affordability should the market crash but sadly those most likely to suffer from such an event are the same ones doing it tough now.

                      It is important to remember that every resource directed at this problem is a resource unavailable for the myriad of other demands

                    • David Mac

                      Yes, a myriad of other demands, but a roof and our health, they're jolly fundamental. Without a roof and our health, education is an unnecessary luxury.

                      I'm sure you can see the inherit benefits in enabling more to follow the advice I suspect you gave your offspring, it's what my Dad said to me. "Rent for as short a time as you can, even if it's a dogbox in a questionable location, buy as soon as you can."

                    • pat

                      I do see the inherent benefits and I advised my offspring of such….but the best solution imo is to reduce property values through the removal of the inflationary incentives and the provision of adequate social housing….and that appears politically problematic.

                    • David Mac

                      Ha yes Pat, inherent benefits, those ones.

                      Social housing, yep, lets slide them into Airbnbs on the quiet. Cheaper than the motels by the month now they're into shoulder season and lovely crisp clean linen, wi-fi, power, Netflix, jacuzzi, little bottles of shampoo and conditioner, nice.

                      Tongue from cheek, it would be comforting to know that there might be some post Winston conspiring re: putting a rocket under creating social housing.

              • Muttonbird

                Why be flippant about one of the most serious issues there is? Shelter.

                Your take was and is, from your other comments on this thread, to argue home ownership for all because when you don't own a home your kids are left without pride and they don't prosper.

                I disagree. The important thing for kids is to be stable and not transient. Increased rates of home ownership helps because families are in one place for longer, so it’s good to encourage low income households into home ownership with shared equity schemes and similar.

                But families not owning a home can still bring up great kids if they have a sense of housing security. They even look after the the garden if they feel like the place is theirs to enjoy.

                The proposed legislation goes some way to addressing stability of community particularly in high property speculation phases.

                The last government belatedly helped protect against surges of speculation with the requirement of tax identity for buyers, and this one has helped protect against future surges of speculation with the foreign buyers ban.

                The reform of the RTA is a small part of the work required to change the behaviour of the residential tenancy market from one dominated by amateur landlords only concerned about their own retirement, to one dominated by professionals who run their tenancies as a business and keep their assets in reasonably good shape, and most importantly in the market for the people who need them.

                It’s really not fair or socially responsible of you to write off 50% of the population as having no hope of bringing up decent kids simply because they don’t own a title.

                • KJT

                  The removal of State "rentals for life" is one of the meaner Neo-liberal policies. One of the biggest causes of low educational achievement, apart from being hungry all the time of course, is frequently shifting house, and the consequent shifting schools.

                  Tossing families out of state houses as soon as they got to a minimal income threshold, has entrenched poverty for many.

                  Working class who had State houses in the past have often managed to give their kids a good start and break the cycle.

                  Now, we kick the poor back down, the second their life shows signs of improvement.

                  Which figures as a lot of people actually profit from poverty.

              • mike

                the best to do would be to turn off the money that supports the houseing market

  13. Ric Stacey 13

    I have managed 1 to 6 properties for over 10 years. There are certainly tenants that are a continually difficult but whose behaviour doesn’t meet a level that justifies ending their tenancy.

    These laws

    • the landlord issues three notices of separate anti-social acts by the tenant within a 90 day period and applies to the Tenancy Tribunal (there are rules around how this must be done)
    • the landlord issues three notices of late payment of rent within a 90 day period and applies to the Tenancy Tribunal

    along with an effectively run tenancy mediation and tribunal system leave me confident that I could terminate the tenancy of someone that deserves that to happen.

    People shouldn't work in the rental market unless they have good communication skills and a genuine interest in people. And yes I've met rotten tenants and rotten landlords.

    • RedLogix 13.1

      the landlord issues three notices of separate anti-social acts by the tenant within a 90 day period

      That's too short. The one time we had to move a tenant on in this circumstance, the behaviour was spread out over almost 2 years. But serious enough to cause three other tenants to move.

      Badly behaving tenants are smart enough to quickly learn that if they get a notice, the clock will reset in 90 days and there'll be no consequences.

  14. Blazer 14

    addressing the 40,000 empty homes in Auckland is well overdue.

    How would rents be impacted if not for the 2.5 billion in Govt accommodation supplements?.

    • RedLogix 14.1

      addressing the 40,000 empty homes in Auckland is well overdue.

      There are many reasons why a house may lie empty and a one-size fits all mandatory seizure and/or forced occupancy is probably not the most elegant solution.

      TOP's mostly neglected Comprehensive Capital Tax was the cleanest and most even-handed mechanism I've seen so far. But it was a new idea and therefore far too radical and upsetting for most lefties.

      • SPC 14.1.1

        And how many votes would Labour have lost to the right – who would have opposed it as firmly as a CGT (at least a a CGT does not punish the poor for owning their home).

        • KJT

          TOP's tax idea is an excellent way of ensuring, over time, that only wealthy people own houses.

        • KJT

          CGT, proposed should have been progressive. Not many people think anyone should be paying CGT, for an average family house in the suburbs. Plenty can see why Key should have paid taxes, for the millions in profit, on his one of several "family homes" .

    • Drowsy M. Kram 14.2

      Forty THOUSAND empty potential homes in Auckland – holy shit!

      According to this March 2019 report, London has twenty-three thousand empty homes.


      23,000 / 9.0 million is ~ 2,500 empty homes per million Londoners.

      40,000 / 1.6 million is ~25,000 empty homes per million Aucklanders.

      New Zealand, we have a problem…

      A local comparisons is Sydney (23,837 / 5.3 million = 4,500), although Brisbane is higher.

  15. A 15

    Sell, sell, sell! The more the merrier.

    Even better tightly restrict Air BnB so people can live in actual homes rather than motels again.

  16. infused 16

    So I just kicked out a tenant. was a solo mum who I got suckered into. after a few months a partner started living there. didnt mind too much.

    a year later late rents, lawns not mown complaints about loud noises. she told our management agency theres no issue as you get your rent eventually.

    so we kicked her out. and the house just came back with high levels of meth use.

    never again

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