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Rental Rights Review

Written By: - Date published: 2:06 pm, August 27th, 2018 - 68 comments
Categories: greens, housing, housing insulation, kiwisaver, labour, poverty, tenants' rights - Tags: ,

The Labour led Government has announced a review into our housing rental laws. Housing Minister Phil Twyford and Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson released a discussion document on the issue this morning. There are several proposals to modernise tenancy laws including limiting rent increases and making 90 days the minimum notice for owners to evict tenants.

You can read the consultation document here and have your say here.

The discussion document includes the following proposals:

  • removing landlords right to terminate tenancies without reason
  • requiring 90 days notice to terminate a tenancy to under all circumstances
  • limiting rent increases to once a year
  • making it easier for tenants and landlords to reach agreement about pets and minor alterations to the home
  • looking at the need to provide adequate protection for boarding house tenants
  • introducing new tools and processes into the compliance and enforcement system.

This reform process is very welcome. With the recent ban on offshore housing purchases and the start of the KiwiBuild housing project, this focus on the needs of tenants is a timely and progressive step. And with rental stock often in poor shape, overly expensive and less available due to the lucrative nature of Air BnB and similar short term rental websites, the options for renters are increasingly poor.

It’s a sad fact that NZ home ownership has dropped to the lowest level since the 1950’s. The Half Gallon Quarter Acre Pavlova Paradise Austin Mitchell wrote about in the seventies is a distant dream for most young Kiwis. 

Hopefully, taking a global view of housing will reverse the trend of Kiwis increasingly becoming tenants in our own land. There is a lot to be said for the certainty of knowing you have the keys to your future and for the chance to turn a house into a home.

 

68 comments on “Rental Rights Review”

  1. SaveNZ 1

    It is the governments and neoliberal policy that has let renters down.

    Kiwibuild is a joke for renters, 300 over a decade of new houses????

    Selling off the state houses, now the state house land sell offs for Kiwibuild?

    The overseas ownership does not apply to apartments or to new housing or to land farms/assets.

    Not only that foreigners seems to be able get permanent residency at the drop of a hat here, (25% chance as a foreign student, bring the relatives along later). Why go for asylum and wait years when you can come to NZ and just do a chef degree and get full rights within 2 years the entire welfare system at your disposal and ability to freely come and go. Weirdly we seem to be happy to give voting rights to someone with 2 years under their belt in NZ with permanent residency who don’t have to live here (Peter Thiel got citizenship for example after 11 days and we don’t seem to have seen him since, although he does own a nice multimillion dollar property in Queenstown. I guess NZ citizenship was for OZ benefits) than people born here but might be in prison.

    What sort of democracy lets people who don’t live in their country, have no ties to the culture, just walk in and have voting rights telling the people who do live there, what government they should have?

    The biggest problem are caused by rental shortages as more people come due to the above government policies, they need those houses to live in and with low wages, high living costs, increasing corruption & bribes within the state house sector on whom gets the state rentals, and a government committed to speculation on new builds and apartments, using prime land for luxury developments only, as well as pandering to employers who cry wah, wah, when they can’t get someone for their temp job at $20 or less, but wink wink, deportation budget stripped so that cash labour can be harnessed by employers.

    (As a side note, some of the illegal immigrants stoppers in Auckland were earning more than the pay rates of legal stoppers rates set by employers whining they can’t get anyone!) Now that is legal exploitation!

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      What sort of democracy lets people who don’t live in their country, have no ties to the culture, just walk in and have voting rights telling the people who do live there, what government they should have?

      Yep, bloody stupid idea. Can’t understand why it was made that way in the first place. Permanent Residence needs to be dropped completely. And, yes, that means it should also be dropped for those who have it already.

      • AsleepWhileWalking 1.1.1

        Bring it on!

        Does anyone have this as a policy? Needs to be done.

      • SaveNZ 1.1.2

        Due to how NZ was settled as a British colony as a bicultural nation and recognised within the treaty of Waitangi those who came under that should be allowed to just change to citizenship so you don’t get the Windrush situation from the UK.

        But people who are permanent residents from the past 30 years and in particular the last decade, need to have a lot more scrutiny and permanent residency needs to be stopped due to all the abuses occurring like buying a house or a fake business like a liquor store and pay no taxes while decrying how lazy the locals are should all be locked away. We have meth dealers driving around in Ferraris that have permanent residency and never put a tax return in, 26 years! Nobody in government seemed to care, the country ain’t gonna get rich if we become a nation of dairies and liquor stores and bad cafes and rich satellite families and meth dealers and suppliers while the locals earning less and less are asked to pay more and more.

        Voting and citizenship should be a carefully won right here that takes 10 years not some overnight occurrence with lawyers.

        The government and Immigration needs to understand globalism a lot more because a lot of kiwis can’t even afford to be tenants in their own country anymore and that is wrong.

        Good immigration should be everyone benefits, clearly that’s not happening in NZ and part of it, is the idea of migrants as some short term fix of money or skills instead of a wider strategic drive to get people who want to be here, are going to be successful here and actually complement the locals and pay some taxes.

        I have no problem if people relatives come in, but it should be the family supporting that choice not the taxpayers and they should be on visas where they pay their own way and can’t vote.

        The only people who should have the privilege of coming and going and still get welfare/voting/super/health should be people who are born here with parents who are legal citizens. Maori in particular have had their rights completely screwed by what has happened.

        The government should also be allowed to revoke citizenship and permanent residency to new comers if they are criminals aka the Meth dealers or significantly damage society aka white collar criminals that no doubt have been lured here by the 0% tax havens.

        • WILD KATIPO 1.1.2.1

          Again , – 100%

          Bang on the money.

          • corodale 1.1.2.1.1

            Minister of Immigration: Hon Iain Lees-Galloway
            Associate Minister of Immigration: Hon Kris Faafoi
            Action, now.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.2

          Due to how NZ was settled as a British colony as a bicultural nation and recognised within the treaty of Waitangi those who came under that should be allowed to just change to citizenship so you don’t get the Windrush situation from the UK.

          If someone has Permanent Residence then they can apply for citizenship and it’s pretty much a foregone acceptance.

          Part of the problem is that many other nations don’t allow dual citizenship and so the people from those nations stick with permanent residency. China is one such nation.

          And, yes, I’m against allowing dual citizenship for NZers as well.

          Voting and citizenship should be a carefully won right here that takes 10 years not some overnight occurrence with lawyers.

          /agreed

          I have no problem if people relatives come in, but it should be the family supporting that choice not the taxpayers and they should be on visas where they pay their own way and can’t vote.

          Relatives shouldn’t get special treatment. If they want to immigrate then they have to go through all the same processes.

        • OnceWasTim 1.1.2.3

          “Good immigration should be everyone benefits, clearly that’s not happening in NZ and part of it, is the idea of migrants as some short term fix of money or skills instead of a wider strategic drive to get people who want to be here, are going to be successful here and actually complement the locals and pay some taxes.”

          10000% !

          Immigration has become a business, mainly for the benefit of a series of ticket clippers in the supply chain.
          In many cases, if you play along with the scam you eventually benefit. If you are genuine, you’re likely to get royally ripped off, then tipped out before you can make a fuss

          There are one or two positive signs of change but they’re not happening fast enough.

      • WILD KATIPO 1.1.3

        That’s right, – and we all know it is part of neo liberalism’s plan to introduce cheap labour. They will say its not, that its altruistic ( ie globalism ) but all we all know the truth and were for a time cowed by being accused as ‘ racist’ , ‘nimby’s’ and the like.

        Bullshit.

        Truth is for a long time – eptomized under Key , we have had among the most lax immigration laws around the globe.So large amounts of foreigners can just pour in here, and within a short while get the vote to manipulate things for their benefit???

        Come on. We’ve all heard about the Blue Dragons, National. And that effects housing. In a huge way. Not only does it put pressure on housing all those immigrants, – it puts pressure on those who shouldn’t have pressure put on them : those that actually were BORN here. Its a far right wing capitalists wet dream.
        Shafting fellow Kiwis for a buck and bending over for Australian banks to be shafted yet again in paying interest,- which is , of course, – passed onto the renters.

        Damn right we need a change….

        • SaveNZ 1.1.3.1

          If our immigration is for altruistic purposes, where are our refugees and where are the democracy and human rights dissidents fleeing imprisonment in their own countries… yep, nope not allowed here, might effect our trade agreements to do the right thing by people who speak out for rights in their own countries! I for one miss Russell Norman. Greens have not been the same now he was hounded out of government.

          You’d think hot recruitment grounds for tilers and construction from the Middle East, Palestine, etc but not seeing NZ construction recruiting there….

          on that note, had a friend complaining about moving into his new build apartment, yep much of the internal workmanship quality so low, remedial work and people being called back to fix up before it is even lived in (where is the project manager???) , poorly organised construction and poor sub contractor skills and and going after most profit you can, clearly has become the NZ rip off in construction – maybe time they actually ask for construction workers to be on $100k+ so we get real tradies and not all the fakes who can’t do the job. While they are about it, they should have to have to pass the courses for construction that Kiwis do to make it an even playing field, just like foreign teachers, nurses, doctors do to prove they know what they are doing, before they are let loose on the jobs and into NZ.

          This ex lawyer with criminal convictions is the type who seem to be recruiting on the ‘legal’ human trafficking side for dodgy construction. Sounds like a model citizen (sarcasm) who will def be recruiting quality workers. (more sarcasm).

          https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/05/labour-hire-firm-employee-resigns-after-migrant-worker-investigation.html

          • alwyn 1.1.3.1.1

            ” I for one miss Russell Norman. Greens have not been the same now he was hounded out of government. ”
            Well you must be living in some other country to me.
            Russel Norman was never in Government, so how could he have been “hounded out” of it.
            Do you mean that he was hounded out of the Green Party, or what do you mean?

            • OnceWasTim 1.1.3.1.1.1

              What do you do in your spare time alwyn? Pick nits?
              Government – in its broadest context, like for example government employees, or systems of government.such as Westminster system of government
              You’d be the life of the party eh?

          • OnceWasTim 1.1.3.1.2

            The example you give is the tip of the iceberg – and a situation that’s been allowed to fester for the past near decade. (see 1.1.2.3 above).
            And it is/was a situation that has been working as designed (e.g. – one example: tying visas to a specific employer – a recipe for exploitation and ticket clipping).

            By the way, AWF should not simply be prosecuted, but they should be forced to fully repay its victims and pay for the cost od their repatriation. The fact that it never seems to happen is one big reason this sort of shit KEEPS happening

    • Agreed 100%

      Concise and succinct.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    It’s a sad fact that NZ home ownership has dropped to the lowest level since the 1950’s.

    Only if you consider private ownership to be the solution when it’s actually the problem as it allows unearned income that impoverishes the many for the benefit of the few.

    • SPC 2.1

      Yeah the ability of near all of a generation or two to own their own home really impoverished the many.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        It’s not that people can own one home. It’s that people can own many.

        But by allowing people to own one guarantees that some people will demand to be able to own more with the BS idea that by doing so they will provide capital to build them (which they actually don’t).

        As I said – private ownership encourages and allows bludging and it’s that bludging that impoverishes the many.

        • SPC 2.1.1.1

          1. Allowing people to buy their own food results in some people eating too much, so your solution for that would be rationing of food.

          2. Private ownership of homes has demonstrably not impoverished the many in the past, so of itself, is not the cause.

          If you are not capable of determining the cause of the change, from then to now, maybe you could go away and study the issue further before commenting …

  3. Ad 3

    – Proposed powers to enter public spaces of Boarding Houses will be tough but a good idea.

    – I’m curious as to how the powers will be able to be enforced against HNZ.

    – In particular HNZ via its entity HLC is about to push out tens of thousands of tenants over time as they renew their rentals and indeed whole suburbs of Auckland. Sure hope they’ve rehearsed how one dog of the state gets bit by another.

    – The infringement notices and increased powers for MBIE will quickly require a whole enforcement branch that is going to need some specific warrants – or else a whole bunch of paid security.

    – Seems bizarre to say it with such an active government, but having just walked down Queen Street in Auckland at 2.30pm and passed over a dozen homeless people in blankets, this government needs to ensure that at the very bottom end of society it’s easier to get a temporary place to stay – and this large scale regulation will close down the very low end of housing where they go. Are they making an existing problem worse?

    • SPC 3.1

      More (state owned) hostels and trailer parks (used in Christchurch after the earthquakes) for the homeless unable to get private rentals (backgrounds exclude them).

    • greywarshark 3.2

      Ad
      The bottom end of society don’t need a temporary place to stay, they need provision for enough permanent simple bedrooms for the numbers, where they can go and sleep and get some food, with simple but adequate conditions.

      Many of the homeless have been destroyed by bad conditions as children and are unable to adjust to an individualistic world as adults, or they have used like drugs of alcohol, and others to get a buzz just too often, and have lost the drive to manage their lives better.

      They are often unemployable by private employers but could do some group work if supervised and keep themselves to a low but viable standard with a place to sleep and eat and a bit of company and socialising. This would be their permanent life, and they need the options of moving around and finding cheap accommodation available to them, with some work available too, for reward though not necessarily for minimum wage, that they have to do fttt.

      Their situation, abilities and needs are permanent, not temporary.

  4. RedLogix 4

    I suppose I should comment; being the landlord some people love to hate around here. I’ve spent 30 min skimming through the MBIE document and at first glance it looks pretty well put together. The issues it raises are well overdue another look, and quite a few of them are ones we have encountered ourselves. The discussion points and questions have clearly been put together by people with real experience in the field.

    Overall the key concern arises from a very real shift towards lifetime renting. When we started it was primarily a transitional stage for most people, but increasingly we are seeing people renting pretty much all their lives. And for many this is a voluntary choice, given that renting does come with a more free time, flexibility and improved cash flow. But it does mean that for many people the house they’re renting is also very much their home of many years. Security of tenure is an important consideration; although as they do point out, this needs to be balanced with reasonable balance for the landlord’s rights as well.

    Overall MBIE do seem to be making a worthwhile effort to update the legislation.

    • miravox 4.1

      As someone who has lived for a number of years in a country with rental legislation that supports long-term tenancies, I’m pleased you see these proposals as worthwhile.

      It seems that an effort has been made to make meaningful adjustments in the rental market without being at all radical. Hopefully the majority of landlords (the good ones) have a similar perspective of this as you do.

      Given the shift to long-term rentals. it would be great if we could see some long-term rental contract expectations a (la a European regulations & 5 to 10 year leases) put in place as well, but I don’t think New Zealand is ready for that yet.

      And then there’s getting rid of the Accommodation Supplement and putting in rent controls…

  5. CHCOff 5

    May it be the first of many good steps.

    A House is a HOME!

    And if we are sentient beings, that’s what supply and demand markets are for, to serve & provide the provisions for human needs and wants, collectively, individually and all the layers in between. That friends, is freedom!

    So may we reach that & a market that adjusts and operates accordingly to one of the most primoridial natural understandings we have, a house is a HOME!

    And as a society, New Zealand will then be able to operate, maintain & OWN it’s real assets as the citizenry’s wealth is no longer tied up in chasing housing/property bubbles and illusionary wealth gains at the expense of their fellow citizens.

    NZ1st!

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      A House is a HOME!

      Yes it is.

      Unfortunately under capitalism and private ownership it becomes another way to bludge off of someone else.

      And if we are sentient beings, that’s what supply and demand markets are for

      Incorrect.

      Markets and the pricing system are for the distribution of scarce resources.

      Capitalist control of the land and availability of resources through ownership actively prevent a good distribution and thus result in poverty. Scarcity and high demand put the price up which allows for higher profits but with lower access.

      to serve & provide the provisions for human needs and wants, collectively, individually and all the layers in between. That friends, is freedom!

      To do that then we need to get rid of capitalism and private ownership.

      • CHCOff 5.1.1

        Draco, you say to get rid of capitalism and private ownership to fix the problem of lack of private ownership in housing is the way to go.

        You are allowed to say that.

        I say people are allowed to say what they like, while what actions work best for people ‘out of a particular social end point’ they are allowed to do/have whatever people say.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1

          Draco, you say to get rid of capitalism and private ownership to fix the problem of lack of private ownership in housing is the way to go.

          No, I said private ownership was the problem that has caused the present housing crisis as it allows and encourages bludging.

  6. Bill 6

    A Registry of Landlords (ie, person deemed fit to be a landlord) should be fairly central to any change. But as far as I can see so far (haven’t quite finished the discussion doc) there’s simply nothing at all on that front. Anyone acting as a landlord but not registered should have some entire, very large and wooden bound book thrown at them.

    Also not noticed in the discussion document – some mechanism to cap rents.

    Specify grounds for eviction (end of lease) but split them into mandatory and discretionary – where mandatory means that if a tribunal agrees those grounds exist, then the lease ends (eviction) and discretionary means that a tribunal decides if an eviction occurs even though the specific grounds exist.

    • Indeed. A Warrant of Fitness system.

      We would not allow heavy articulated trucks or even cars on the roads without one, – so why not housing in all its permutations as well?

      People have already literally died because of derelict housing that isn’t habitable for humans , and that AFTER paying exorbitant rents .

      This country needs a boot up the backside.

      • SaveNZ 6.1.1

        Can we have a WOF of all construction workers too, so we can prove they do the job before being let loose to bugger up more housing?

        • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1

          Construction workers have to have done a three year course and/or an apprenticeship and have to work to code.

          Of course, developers tend to go for the cheap option and often tell the construction workers how to do the work and if the construction workers tell them that it’s not up to code the construction workers end up without a job and the work is still done below code.

          We need to consider power relationships here.

          • SaveNZ 6.1.1.1.1

            I’m talking a WOF and log of all construction workers working on the job to the last painter should be logged and recorded on each build, and they should all be qualified up to NZ standard, like foreign teachers or what have you, foreign construction workers pass a short government run course to make sure they know what they are doing and safe enough to be able to work on a site, (aka understand written and verbal instructions) and not leave it up to the employers, cos it aint producing quality so far. Then at least people can go back and work out who is doing bad work and who is doing good work!

            • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1.1.1

              A log of who does the work is a good idea.

              We should also have a log of the instructions given to the workers so that we can go back and see when they were instructed to do substandard work. I know such instructions happen because I have family in the construction industry who have told me about it. Now, my family members are old enough and strong enough to tell the developers that such instructions are breaking code but younger people usually aren’t.

              As I said – we need to look at power relationships. The people doing sub-par work may not be the ones responsible for that sub-par work.

        • SaveNZ 6.1.1.2

          Mandatory drug testing of all developers and owners of construction might help too rather than just the workers.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.2

        We would not allow heavy articulated trucks or even cars on the roads without one, – so why not housing in all its permutations as well?

        And we don’t allow driving a truck unless a person has a licence. Perhaps we need to do the same for business. After all the laws regarding running a business far exceed the laws involved in driving a truck and many business owners and managers obviously don’t know those laws and/or are purposefully ignoring them.

      • Bill 6.1.3

        I didn’t mention WOF for houses, and neither does the discussion document – because that’s a separate discussion.

        How you got from Landlord Register to WOF is kinda beyond me.

        There are people who rent out properties who are complete bastards. They should be removed, both for the sake of tenants, the general reputation of landlords and the general state of the renting environment .

        • WILD KATIPO 6.1.3.1

          ‘ How you got from Landlord Register to WOF is kinda beyond me ‘.

          Because it is a related field regards housing. Its not just the rebuild,- all good , good, good, – but already existing tenants who do suffer under unscrupulous landlords due to the fact there was and is a power imbalance. What are they supposed to do?

          Hence why the Rental Rights Review. You cant have that without considering the quality of rental housing. You are right, the review may not mention it,- but its certainly a hot second.

      • greywarshark 6.1.4

        The whole housing situation is dire. People who have bought homes and have hefty mortgages have died from bad effects, I think a few from the fungus that grew between the walls, but others from suicide or stress induced diseases from the worry and sadness of being responsible for huge amounts of loan money on an unsanitary, unhealthy, unsheltering shelter.

        And the landbanks that the rentiers and assorted business people have bought and hold and then chosen housing types unsuited to ordinary, enjoyable human living, with overbearing covenants on them. So different to housing opportunities post-war WW2. Things should have got better as decades advanced, but no they have got worse. Sad and disgraceful planning or none – no forethought, no integrity by government and people with power and authority.

    • RedLogix 7.1

      From the first link:

      “The more difficult they make it for landlords to remove tenants, the more selective and cautious landlords are going to be in their choice of tenants,” he said.

      That is very much the case here in Australia; considerably higher hoops to jump through. And if you don’t have a good reference from your previous …forgeddabboudit.

      Tenants definitely deserve more security and protection; equally landlords are very much looking for better ways to mitigate the risk that around 5 – 10% of tenants create. Both parties really need to grow the fuck up and have a mature non-shouty discussion around getting what they both want.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1

        That is very much the case here in Australia; considerably higher hoops to jump through. And if you don’t have a good reference from your previous …forgeddabboudit.

        Housing should be a right. If someone can’t get a private rental then they should be able to get a state rental set at a percentage of income. If they choose to leave to private a rental and they’ve looked after the place then they should get a good reference.

        The state rental will, of course, be a lifetime lease with options to move as conditions change.

  7. Ad 8

    Liability for damage is going to be a real biggie.

    Landlords already have the right to retain a tenant’s bond if a property was not left in “suitable condition,” and that ‘s usually four weeks’ rent. So if the bill to return it to a “suitable condition” is more than four weeks’ rent, the landlord has to go to their insurer.

    So far the sky of the insurance market for landlord insurance claims hasn’t fallen in – and trust is already pretty low after the meth testing debacle. So it’s not an area in which to cry wolf.

    But I’d like to see thought given to how tenants can be motivated to really take care of properties long term. Security of tenancy is one thing, but liability for costs is also important to change. Maybe even rent contras if they want to make minor improvements themselves over time.

    It’s going to be a long road towards trust.

    • RedLogix 8.1

      Bonds have become pretty useless as far too many tenants simply stop paying the rent when they give notice. And if you try and do something about it there is a real non-zero probability they’ll smash the place up.

      Just to be be clear, 90% or more of people are absolutely fine, they play according to the rules and look after the place better than we would. But it only takes one really bad tenant every few years to completely bugger it up.

      • SPC 8.1.1

        Sad to say, but it has to be imprisonment for those who stop paying rent and then smash up a property. They won’t get another private sector rental, and they should not be prioritised for a state house because of this – that is not its function.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1

          So, what you’re saying is that some people should be forced to be homeless?

          • SPC 8.1.1.1.1

            I am saying that if people stop paying rent and then smash up a property to be excluded from the private property market they should not be rewarded with a state house at below market rent.

            Rewarding crime is dumb policy.

            • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1.1.1

              With the inevitable result that they then be excluded from any housing at all.

              Charge them for any damage but don’t make them homeless as that will just increase crime.

              • SPC

                Charge them? And they can afford to pay … because they get prioritised with lower rent state housing?

                What will increase crime is rewarding those who do not pay rent and vandalise property.

                If there is to be societal buy in for better rules for tenants, then there cannot be advantages to behaving badly.

                • Craig H

                  Sure, but executing people by hypothermia seems excessive, even for the awful crime of being a difficult tenant.

                  • SPC

                    Vandalising a place, when being removed for not paying rent, is a bit more than being a difficult tenant.

                    And no, not rewarding crime, by jumping them up the queue into a state house is not an execution.

                    We do need an increase (state investment) in hostels and trailer parks for the homeless, for those the private sector will not cater for. It would at least be cheaper for the government than imprisonment. And more affordable for the tenant – so they can pay off the damages.

      • Ad 8.1.2

        My experience as well.

  8. Carolyn_Nth 9

    Some good points raised. Security of tenure is very important. What about if a landlord decides to sell the property, the tenant should still be able to stay. i.e. it would need to be sold to another landlord?

    And an end to having my unit inspected every 3 months, now I have been here a few years – every 3 months seems like over-kill. Plus, an end to inspections involving taking photos of everything – it’s my private space, with all my possessions. The agents do all this very respectfully, and the property’s well maintained. However, it feels like my living space is a goldfish bowl and that I’m under constant surveillance.

    • RedLogix 9.1

      The review is not proposing to enforce tenure even if the property is sold.

      Yes every 3 months is too often for an established tenant. Being in Aus we have to use property managers and we’ve settled on annual inspections after the first year. Mainly they’re necessary to pick up issues around maintenance the tenant may not have thought to raise.

      • David Mac 9.1.1

        Check your insurance cover. In NZ inspections are 3 monthly as that is a condition of most policies.

        House burns down, the first thing the insurance company will ask for is historic inspection records and they’ll need to meet the policy requirements.

        • RedLogix 9.1.1.1

          Yes that’s a good point. And insurance companies probably demand this based on their claims experience when it all goes wrong.

      • Muttonbird 9.1.2

        There’s a disincentive for tenants to report issues because of the fear even that paints them as difficult in the eyes of the owners.

        This is how sick the NZ rental landscape has become.

        • RedLogix 9.1.2.1

          Maybe it’s sick in your world, but a quick glance at our maintenance expenses the past few years would suggest otherwise in ours. It doesn’t have to be a toxic relationship.

          I fully recognise there is fault and a mean underbelly of resentment simmering on both sides of the game. Perhaps this MBIE review will turn out a constructive step towards reducing these tensions.

          Keep in mind the vast majority of landlords own just one or two units are are working people themselves. They aren’t an alien species of oppressor hell-bent on making your life miserable; they’re usually just ordinary kiwis just like you.

          • Muttonbird 9.1.2.1.1

            And yet there is a major problem. Tenants didn’t cause it, obviously, so that leaves the amateur landlordism you somehow hold up as a virtue.

            I’m not quite sure why there would be resentment on the owner’s side. They’ve been creaming it on capital gains, flipping properties, and not reinvesting in the properties they do have, preferring to put the money into an ever increasing portfolio.

            • RedLogix 9.1.2.1.1.1

              I’m not quite sure why there would be resentment on the owner’s side.

              Perhaps my partner and I are in an odd situation, we’re both landlords AND tenants at the same time so we have a view from both sides. I must emphasise that at least 90% of the time that’s a perfectly fine trouble-free relationship.

              In our experience (and it seems typical from what I’ve read) between 5 -10% of tenants cause a problem of one sort or another. In the past 18 years I think we’ve housed roughly 45 different tenants over 8 units. And of them 4 have caused real issues, from serious criminal activity and damage, serious theft of our chattels (all the white goods, plumbing and a car stored in a locked shed), another who strung us out over a year with repeated failures to pay the rent reliably and water damage to the bathroom ($12,000 rebuild) to another rather sad case of a person who became anti-social towards other tenants.

              All that is the quick summary. I’ve never had the heart to add up what it all cost.

              In the end getting property managers in has taken a lot of the stress out of it. They bring a dispassionate professionalism to the business, even if it does slice another large chunk off our relatively slim margins. Yet I’ve now told you this I’m guessing you’ll damn us for using professionals who ‘rack up the costs and rents’.

  9. Muttonbird 10

    This reform seems weak to me. Tinkering at the edges.

    Indefinite lease lengths as a default are a must.
    A robust WOF is a must. If you want to be a landlord, be a landlord, not a slumlord.
    Tenant’s lease must be honoured upon sale of house. This is a must too.

    • Carolyn_Nth 10.1

      Well, the proposed changes are welcome. However, they are more tinkering than the the major changes needed to ensure all New Zealanders have adequate housing.

      Once again, this government shows it is quicker to appease and cater to business leaders than doing something similar for those representing low income Kiwis struggling to find a safe, secure and affordable home.

      So ‘business’ complains and holds country to ransome with malcontent. Where is a similar organisation set up for those representing those in housing poverty? Maybe with people from Renters United, Auckland Action Against Poverty, and/or Child Poverty Action group?

      This government hasn’t even included in their plans for change an MP in one of the government support parties, who has the most recent experience of being a struggling renter (Marama Davidson). These changes are all about the middle classes deciding what’s best for the struggling classes, while also not scaring those with wealth and corporate power. And this is while we have a major housing affordability crisis.

      Renters United NZ plan to fix renting:
      https://www.rentersunited.org.nz/plan/

      Includes taxes on property speculation, incentives for non-government entities to provide affordable rental accommodation, ending land banking, meaningful enforcement of regulations, and much more.

  10. Kay 12

    Landlords vs tenants has become the latest battle front opened in the great “Us vs Them” war of NZ, mostly being played out by the same (paid? vested interests?) posters and up/down voters in Stuff comments, Trade Me etc in an attempt to influence emotions and blur the reality, in addition to the usual media commentators who want to make out that the slightest bit of regulation/reform by any government that ISN’T a National one is clearly the end of civilisation as we know it.

    No doubt these same people had no problem at all with the great State Housing sell-off, so we know they have no concern whatsoever if people are homeless or not.

    As a permanent tenant who’s currently trapped in private rental for the simple reason there’s no Council or State left even though I’m very eligible for it, obviously I agree with these proposals. But I don’t like feeling caught up in another front of the civil war, still I suppose it’s a break from beneficiary bashing, but give that time…

  11. adam 13

    Again sweet bugger all from labour, I wonder how long working people are going to put up with this half assed crap from a government which every day moves one more step to the right.

    • Only for as long as Jacinda wants the gig. I’d say you can look forward to a change in government around 2026. Maybe 2029.

      • adam 13.1.1

        Good to know your happy with this commitment to right wing economics. So do we take it as read, your fully into hard liberalism in all it’s economic drudgery? Or somthing else? As it stands these so called reforms are weak and pathetic, and as I said it’s bugger all from the labour party and greens on this issue. Mind you seeing as they bucking all over the place, I’d be shocked if they did anything truly life changing for the poor and downtrodden.

      • Delia 13.1.2

        If this is half assed what was National doing to protect tenants, I do remember they sold of homes and left our most vulnerable on the street and yes I do not see Ardern leaving within two terms maybe even three. In fact should I be really daring and give her four. I suspect she will get better and better in the job. She has a charm offensive that Helen lacked. Helen got three terms.

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