Squatters’ rights

Written By: - Date published: 11:53 am, April 29th, 2017 - 87 comments
Categories: housing, human rights, tenants' rights - Tags:

Dunedin South MP Clare Curran says she is almost at the stage of encouraging people to squat in vacant state houses in Dunedin as the waiting list climbs above 100.

Good on Curran. She’s not the first MP, Pita Sharples suggested the same thing in post-quake Christchurch. I guess that’s NZ now then, a post-disaster economy.

First, let’s now acknowledge that New Zealand has a housing crisis, not just one or two cities. That’s not a shortage of actual houses, we have plenty of those. It’s a crisis created by the neoliberal, look after number one, social engineering of the past 30 years, whereby homes became investments and too bad if you weren’t on that wagon early enough or simply couldn’t make the jump.

There’s no easy fix, and tinkering with taxation to slow housing inflation, or building a few more houses here and there is not going to make housing affordable or accessible or healthy again. National are either useless or taking the piss or both, but the gall of them acting as if state housing (that’s our housing) is a commodity and tenants are stock units, well we need to push back against that.

I’ve previously argued that a group of locals could take over empty HNZ houses (ones that have obviously been vacant for a long time), do them up and then people can live in them. They’d need people with skills to assess safety and repairs, but there are plenty of those around. Having someone with good social media and MSM skills would mean that the issue garnered attention and support, and offered some protection to the new residents.

It might also put squatters’ legal rights on the agenda. Which is a sad indictment of the state of NZ as a whole, that we even need to consider that, but that’s where we are and it’s long past time we stopped wringing our hands.

The list of what is wrong with housing in NZ is very, very long, and well hashed, so I’ll not repeat that. But suffice to say we can support people who now need to find themselves a decent home. A winter in a car in Auckland is one thing, trying to do that in Dunedin is another thing entirely.

87 comments on “Squatters’ rights”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    About time someone started thinking about immediately viable solutions. The National Party’s victims need defending now, they do not have the luxury of waiting for the electorate to take out the trash.

    • Antoine 1.1

      Immediately viable in the sense of ‘not viable, you will get kicked out if you try this’?

  2. Antoine 2

    > It’s a crisis created by the neoliberal, look after number one, social engineering of the past 30 years,

    I put it to you that it is not, rather it is created by bad town planning.

    A.

    • weka 2.1

      which was a consequence of neoliberalism. The market will sort it out.

      And town planning doesn’t cover things like renter rights or mouldy private rentals or property booms or Air BnB capture. Treating homes as investment capital underpins all those things when it’s done without thought for human beings.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1

        On Planet Antoine, local government sets the minimum wage and can impose capital gains taxes.

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          that’s not a bad idea, well done Antoine.

          • Antoine 2.1.1.1.1

            > local government sets the minimum wage

            Be careful what you wish for, that one could cut both ways.

            A.

            • weka 2.1.1.1.1.1

              central govt sets the minimum wage nationally, and then local govt can set it higher than that in their rohe but can’t set it lower.

      • Antoine 2.1.2

        > which was a consequence of neoliberalism

        No, bad town planning has been around since long before neoliberalism was invented.

        > town planning doesn’t cover things like renter rights or mouldy private rentals or property booms

        Absolutely, bad town planning can cause property booms (through constraining supply). Property booms, in turn, can exacerbate problems around renter rights and rental properties being in poor condition – because the renter has few affordable alternatives. They can’t just say ‘this landlord is annoying or this house is mouldy, I will move somewhere else’.

        A.

        • weka 2.1.2.1

          Show us some evidence of the housing crisis pre-80s then that was due to poor town planning, and then how town planning pre-80s created all the different factors in the housing crisis of the last decade.

          • Antoine 2.1.2.1.1

            If I can give you one example of a housing crisis pre 1980 that was due to poor town planning, will you agree that I’m right?

            If not, I shan’t bother :p

            A.

            • weka 2.1.2.1.1.1

              Thought so. Your reckons are just that, with no substance other than your neoliberal politics, and so you present a weasley bullshit answer because there is really no backing up what you believe.

              • Antoine

                No no, I’m absolutely ready to present a solid answer. I’ve got examples of housing crises pre 1980 due to poor town planning, right here, and I’m about to post them here. Which will prove my contention that ‘bad town planning has been around since long before neoliberalism was invented’. (Which I’m surprised I have to prove it, I would have thought it was uncontroversial, but I’m happy to do it if required.)

                I’m just checking first, that you’re going to agree that I’m right, when I post those examples. Is that right?

                A.

                • weka

                  “Which will prove my contention that ‘bad town planning has been around since long before neoliberalism was invented’.”

                  Of course, no-one has disputed that and I haven’t asked you to prove that, or prove anything. I’ve asked for some evidence that bad town planning is responsible for the current housing crisis alone (or as the single major factor) and that that bad town planning was not affected by neoliberalism. Which seems to be your argument.

                  But stick up your example, it’s probably interesting to look at.

                  “I’m just checking first, that you’re going to agree that I’m right, when I post those examples. Is that right?”

                  No, because it’s a dickhead debate technique out of kindergarten. I don’t give a shit about who is ‘right’, what I care about is people backing up their assertions with some evidence. And as noted, we don’t even agree on what has to be demonstrated.

            • greywarshark 2.1.2.1.1.2

              Antoine
              That’s ridiculous. Present one failure and everyone is to agree that the system doesn’t work. That’s the childish thing that RWs and those fanatically glued to their own ideas of superior intellects do. Fail, I’m sorry.

              Show the pros and cons of pre 1980 housing and planning, and then show how the cons far outweigh the pros. Then you will help to show the weak spots in others calling for a return to the past. Which probably no-one is trying to do anyway, so you may find that you are going round in circles biting your tail. That looks quite funny when pets do it on Reddit but humans just rate a horrified look and an attempt to call the mental health carers, if there are any.

        • Psycho Milt 2.1.2.2

          Absolutely, bad town planning can cause property booms (through constraining supply).

          It can, yeah. But it pales into insignificance compared to bad FTA agreements that make your property market completely open to a huge number of people with lots of money to invest and good reasons to invest it outside their own country, and bad governments that notice what’s happening but pretend it isn’t because their property-owning constituents are benefiting from it.

      • lprent 2.1.3

        Presumably they can also raise taxes easily, can stop the flow of migrants to their city, can offer social services in competition with (and showing up the National governments uselessness) central government, or can raise debt on future generations.

        Basically Antoine appears to be a dimwit who doesn’t realise that National has explicitly removed all of those options from local goverments.

        If central government wants to arbitrarily raise nett inwards migration then they can fucking well pay for it. After all central government gets virtually all of the benefits. Why should current ratepayeŕs pay for it.

        Similarly if they choose to leave housing empty for political purposes, then the local council or citizens should just take it over. Use it or lose it.

        • weka 2.1.3.1

          Yeah, I’m pretty sure they’re missing how much councils have change in recent decades.

        • Antoine 2.1.3.2

          Just can’t shake the suspicion that if we had a right wing Auckland Council and a left wing Government, you guys would be all like ‘Antoine you dopey f%^$, how can you blame the Government for the housing crisis, when central Government doesn’t make the land zoning rules?’

          A.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      Neo-liberalism insists that no planning is necessary – that the market will provide. In fact, it claims that planning by government brings about worse results.

    • Sacha 2.3

      Town planning does not create inflows of hot money or make housing into an investment rather than shelter. So long as low-interest foreign funding is allowed to buy property for untaxed capital gains you can tinker with urban planning rules as much as you like.

    • bwaghorn 2.4

      id say it’s mainly caused by breeding ,

    • keepcalmcarryon 2.5

      “I put it to you that it is not, rather it is created by bad town planning.”
      This is the Nat government line, its ALL supply side issues.
      What sort of mental gymnastics does it take for the Free marketeers (Nact) to suddenly ignore the laws of supply and demand and decide its all supply?
      Where did you clowns study economics?
      If I have one person looking for a house or 70 000 people looking for a house in the same area does it make a difference to the housing market and therefore prices? Undeniably. What idiot would argue otherwise?

      Antoine I dont believe you are that thick and suspect you are simply trolling the government line in the hope of confusing a muppet or two and allowing those with skin in the game to feel good about their tax free capital gain.

  3. BM 3

    The problem for a lot of renters these days if you fuck up and do something stupid and get kicked out of a private rental you’re basically blacklisted.

    This means in the current climate landlords won’t even look at you, once that happens your only option is housing NZ.

    Btw I’m not implying these 100 on the waiting list fall into the above category.

    • weka 3.1

      some kind of evidence that ‘a lot of renters’ have that problem would be good, otherwise it just looks like your own neoliberal, making excuses reckons.

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          I had a trawl through the last link but I’m not seeing anything that shows that a lot of tenants have a problem in this regard (i.e. are bad tenants and then get blacklists and on a list of other landlords who then refuse to rent to them).

          Your argument was that lots of tenants are bad and through that system end up only being able to rent via HNZ. But there is no evidence for any of that (if there is evidence, then cut and paste the relevant bits and make your case, I’m not going on a wild goose chase through link drops).

          • BM 3.1.1.1.1

            Groan, don’t be so pedantic.

            Just because I can’t state that xxxx number of people have this issue doesn’t mean it’s not an issue for people looking for rentals.

            Facts are landlords, thanks to the internet have a lot more information available to them which they then use to rate the suitability of prospective tenants.

            In a market of high demand, no landlord is going to choose the prospective tenant that’s got a tenancy tribunal record or anything else that may push them into the high-risk category.

            If you looked at the second link this isn’t the only thing people check

            Tenancy Information NZ tenant ratings, Tenancy Tribunal orders, 14 day notices, verbal/physical abuse, drug abuse warnings, dangerous dog warnings and photos from other members
            Ministry of Justice Tenancy Tribunal orders
            The C.I.A. Debt Recovery Group Ltd http://www.cia.nz
            Dun & Bradstreet credit checks
            LTNZ Drivers License verification’s
            Ministry of Justice Criminal Fines
            Personal Property & Securities Register
            Department of Internal Affairs NZ Passport verification’s
            Facebook, Companies Office, Police 10/7, Sensible Sentencing Trust, Google, etc.

            https://www.tinz.net.nz/

            It doesn’t take much to be pushed to the bottom of the list or more than likely off the list.

            • weka 3.1.1.1.1.1

              I haven’t said it’s not an issue at all. I’ve questioned your assertion that it’s a big issue and a significant contributing factor to the housing crisis. That landlords have a current advantage because of the housing shortage isn’t evidence that ‘bad’ tenants are a contributing factor. You *might be right, I just don’t see any evidence for it, in your comments or anecdotally.

              • weka

                plus, put that up against the number of HNZ houses being sold or standing empty in cities with people who are homeless and you might understand why I think your argument is a red herring at best. There is no shortage of actual houses even for ‘bad’ tenants who can only now rely on HNZ.

              • UncookedSelachimorpha

                If BM was right (I don’t think so), there would be a shortage of non – blacklisted tenants, and rents would be low as a result. Instead there is a shortage of housing, with plenty of acceptable prospective tenants but no affordable housing available to them.

          • Sabine 3.1.1.1.2

            for once i agree with BM

            you need references now a days if you want to rent a property. Sometimes more then once, if your last landlord refuses to serve a reference chances are you are not being the lucky one to get the flat.
            That already is an issue with young people who never rented before, can be an issue with someone who has mental health issues and may have had a run in with a previous landlord, has had a domestic violence issue etc etc etc.

            And yes, in that case in NZ the only chance of ever renting something better then a dog kennel would be HNZ.

    • mac1 3.2

      We have people in the same category here, hoarders for example, who have been thrown out of local authority housing. The fear of those agencies like Age Concern is that the private sector will not look at them. What then?

      You’re right, BM, and as I understand it hoarding and other anti-social behaviour can be symptoms of mental illness and the help for them, funding and resources, is not as it was, or needs to be.

      • weka 3.2.1

        hoarding is a reason for eviction?

        • Antoine 3.2.1.1

          > hoarding is a reason for eviction?

          Yes if it damages the house (eg through hoarded perishable food items rotting).

          A.

          • weka 3.2.1.1.1

            so not a reason for eviction per se. The reason for eviction is if you damage the house like any other kind of damage.

            • mac1 3.2.1.1.1.1

              I think the issues stem around safety for the tenant, access into the building, fire risk, physical safety, and as Antoine says below hygiene issues. I have been inside one of the houses and the tenant’s mobile chair stayed outside the front door as no way could anyone even move inside except sideways.

              I’m not justifying the evictions, after due notice etc., nor condemning them, but looking forward as BM did to where such folk go.

            • mac1 3.2.1.1.1.2

              Maybe so, Weka. Let’s not leave sight though of where such a person is to go after eviction from a local bodies’ rental.

            • Foreign waka 3.2.1.1.1.3

              Hoarding by and large has the effect that every surface, room etc is covered with “stuff”. Naturally, cleaning and sanitary conditions will become a problem and with that insects of all kinds will start to infest the property. The longer that goes on the more likely it is that living in such a the property can become a health hazard. I don’t belief there is any need to explain any further.

  4. Antoine 4

    > It might also put squatters’ legal rights on the agenda.

    Squatter’s rights are an anathema to most NZers, can’t see this happening.

    A.

    • weka 4.1

      “The system was, if you thought a dwelling was vacant, and not being used, you squatted and notified the council. Then the council contacted the owners. You could stay in the squat until the owner decided to do it up, and/or use it for a dwelling via went or owner-occupier.”

      From Carolyn below. I don’t think ‘most NZers’ would have a problem with that where the house was a rental property/long term unoccupied, esp if it was a HNZ house in a place with people having to live in cars and a long HNZ waiting list.

      I think lots of NZers would object if it was holiday houses, and that would be a sticking point for sure. But the post was about houses owned by the state and simply not being used.

      • Antoine 4.1.1

        > I don’t think ‘most NZers’ would have a problem with that

        I don’t think most Standardistas would have a problem with it. I think most Kiwis would loathe it. Short of some kind of opinion poll, or some politician seriously promoting the idea, we won’t be able to assess objectively which of us is right.

        A.

        • weka 4.1.1.1

          we obviously move in different kinds of circles. I don’t think more than 50% of NZers would have a problem with HNZ houses being occupied in that fashion by people living in cars in Auckland at the moment, but then I tend to move in circles where people have compassion and believe that housing is a right.

          • Antoine 4.1.1.1.1

            I move in circles where people have compassion but don’t believe in letting other people trespass in houses they don’t own.

            A.

            • weka 4.1.1.1.1.1

              People who would rather a family spends the winter in a car in Dunedin than moves into an unoccupied HNZ house, because of the principle of the thing, aren’t compassionate. They may have selective compassion in other areas, but that’s not what I meant.

              • Antoine

                Perhaps the reason we are disagreeing on this is that i think Housing Nz houses are vacant for a reason. They are being cleaned, renovated, repaired, awaiting sale or a new tenant is being found. For squatters to move in is entirely unhelpful and will just delay the time when the proper new tenant moves in. It leaves society worse off not better. Am I wrong in this belief?

                A.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.1.2

              And that cancels any sense of compassion that they may think that they have

            • greywarshark 4.1.1.1.1.3

              Antoine
              Moving in circles. That’s funny I’ve put a comment for you on that very matter further down the post. As I started reading upwards I’m coming from the grassroots end which doesn’t follow the normal path. Hope you like my suggestions below.

  5. Carolyn_nth 5

    Yep. law needs changing. I’ve lived in a legal squat in London for a few months. The system was, if you thought a dwelling was vacant, and not being used, you squatted and notified the council. Then the council contacted the owners. You could stay in the squat until the owner decided to do it up, and/or use it for a dwelling via went or owner-occupier.

    • weka 5.1

      Did the owner have to prove what they were intending to do?

    • Karen 5.2

      This law made squatting an option in London but if anyone tried it here they would be likely be charged with breaking and entering at a minimum. The last thing someone who is homeless needs is to be prosecuted so I wouldn’t recommend it. However, the boarded up state houses could be used as a campaigning tool for Labour and the Greens – to draw attention to this situation.

      Having legal squatting rights like those in London may put pressure on some speculators who are leaving houses empty – but I suspect they’d claim they were doing it up very, very slowly.

    • saveNZ 5.3

      I think it will be sad if NZ goes the way of the UK with such division with housing.

      Yep I also spent about 9 months is a legal squat in London, but nobody cared because it was owned by the council. The council then sold it and now the apartments are private and cost millions of pounds. It was a very beautiful squad, in the heart of London with lovely architecture, but saying that I nearly got electrocuted by the dodgy wiring of the hot water and it was cold in winter.

      So, I find it hard to reconcile labour’s WOF of which 90% of houses failed in the test run to Claire Curren advocating having zero standards and squatting.

      Do we want better standards or less standards? Or a miss match? What about P? Can P maker’s just set up shop under the squatting rights?

      A lot of NZ houses are empty because they are baches. Part of the culture. Now in Auckland people need an apartment just to get to work through the traffic and dodgy transport options. Something like 8000 new cars are hitting Auckland roads per week. Not a problem says the Natz because in some satire they are calling themselves the infrastructure government.

      65% of Kiwis are homeowners so I’m not sure squatting rights is an election winner – more likely a boast of votes to the Natz of having squats to worry and the terrifying scenario like P contamination of houses.

      Sounds like a headline designed to scare home owning Kiwi voters back to the Natz.

      • Carolyn_nth 5.3.1

        Surely, people who can’t find affordable private rentals, would be fine with paying a reasonable fee to HNZ or the local council for a safety check. Then, as weka said in the above post:

        They’d need people with skills to assess safety and repairs, but there are plenty of those around.

        • saveNZ 5.3.1.1

          The reason that squatting was made legal in the UK was because so much land was owed by a few. The Duke of Westminster owned large areas of London for example.

          Squatting works if someone has ‘forgotten’ all the real estate they own and it’s going to waste.

          Not sure many in NZ have so much real estate that they ‘forget’ they own it. In fact it’s probably more applicable to some commercial NZ real estate, sitting empty for years!

          I’d like to see public land utilised more for people who need it. State houses for example to be increased to 10% of the population. Not rebranded as ‘social’ housing so they can be run by private business to the most efficient (aka ruthless provider and best Natz networker) and privatised.

          Home ownership up to 80% and private rentals more like 10%.

          I see NZ as a biodiverse country that should be protected from turning into the UK or Singapore. Nothing wrong with those countries but I’m for each country having a unique identity not trying to globalise them all into the same mould.

          I’m all for keeping our population static – not artificially expand it 20% in the last decades, especially as there are not enough jobs, houses or transport options for those who live here already, so adding ‘more competition’ in the capitalist model, isn’t my first thought for the ‘market’ to ‘solve the crisis’.

          The government have been using immigration as a way to keep our economy going for years – but it’s not working under their own model as productivity is static.

          In short after 30 years of immigration – it’s not helped our economy – in every social measure we are going down. They are just lazy politicians who are fudging the figures and rather than creating a better place in NZ for the existing residents they have fallen on doing the easy thing.

          It’s not migrants fault at all but our own government and policy experts, but before we turn NZ into a small province of Asia – think – why are people desperate to leave those countries in the first place.

          Clue, over populated, polluted, corrupt, not democratic, un safe, not enough opportunities!

          We need to value what we have in this country, concentrate on who’s here now and making it better for the existing people including migrants already here and not flail around and let our government decide to import people as a short term measure to dig us out of a ponzi hole but in fact is entrenching the ponzi scam.

          In case anyone has not noticed relying on population expansion without jobs, housing or transport, is adding to most people’s problems, in particular the next generation, not reducing them.

      • Antoine 5.3.2

        SaveNz totally agree with you.

        A.

  6. Sabine 6

    Actually i would start blaming Greed today rather then some politics that were introduced 30 – 40 years ago, which literally only those older then 50 being able to remember the ‘good old days’.

    Greed today is as ugly as it was in the early nineties and the yuppie days. And if you would have asked anyone then if they believed in Neo Liberalism or Neo Conservatism they would look at you and go ‘Dunno?”.

    It is greed and avarice that compels us to buy more and more crap made elsewhere on the cheap and that includes housing and commercial real estate. I remember the selling points of Trade Agreements in the eighties, “choice, cheaper, something for everyone”.

    Greed is what guides our collective. And like people collect shoes, cars, and comic books they collect houses. Investment! High return! Even higher if you let it sit empty, it does not ruin the carpet but you can write the loss of against some other income! Win ! Win! Bigly!

    Greed. Neo Liberalism or Neo Conservatism, or any fucking ISM you want to attach to it is nothing more then Greed Avarice Lust Vanity Hunger Desire for Power. But at the end of the day, we are responsible what we are doing, how we are buying stuff, how we are living our live.

    Aucklands/ NZ’s Housing Crisis was created by people that see Housing not as a necessity of life but an interest bearing investment. And sadly, everyone else jumped on the bandwagon – cause if I am right she’ll be right – amirite? So now you have people in NZ that ‘own several houses’ – to the bank – with not enough money to upkeep, with not enough nous to run them as rentals, or worse don’t put them on the market at all cause why bother, and a Government that is so involved in not doing shit, that literally it can’t give a shit.

    So really it is up to people now to what type of future they would like to have, one with empty houses and an angry populace or one with full houses and a slightly poorer investment class.
    Governments do most of the time what the people that voted them asked for. People voted for this Crisis, three times.
    It is time we put a little blame on the ‘we the people’ instead of just neo liberalism or any other meaningless ism.

  7. Bill 7

    What a peculiar thread of people seeming to die in a ditch of singular causation.

    There have been atrocious planning decisions made ‘since forever’ and there has been the impact of liberalism and social networks now give landlords unprecedented access to an prospective tenant’s personal life and history.

    To quote Rentboy – “It’s a shite state of affairs to be in.”

    It’s interesting that Clare Curran is making noises on the squatting front. Of course, given that it’s currently wholly illegal to squat in NZ, she’s probably wise to say that she’s “almost at the stage of encouraging people to squat…” rather than explicitly encouraging people to squat.

    Short of legislation, it may be possible to have the relevant agencies and authorities review their current priorities with a view to developing a ‘blind eye’. 😉

    • Antoine 7.1

      Well said Bill. I was going to argue my corner upthread but I couldn’t put it better than you have done here.

      A.

  8. Paul Campbell 8

    It’s probably worth reminding the Nats at this point that the NZ high country farmers, the backbone of their party started out as squatters, their great grand kids are only just now getting tenure to the land they squatted. Squatting has a great antipodean heritage of lifting wealth from the public purse (“Up rode the squatter mounted on his thoroughbred”) and government support for it (“Down came the troopers, one, two, three”) ….

  9. Incognito 9

    Hi weka,

    Exactly 11 months ago we had a brief exchange about vacant properties and land.

    My suggestion was to introduce a progressive non-occupancy levy on properties and land that don’t fulfill their social and economic purpose.

    At the time you were lukewarm on the idea 😉

    Auckland’s housing crisis is just like Christchurch’s except …

    • weka 9.1

      I thought my response at the time was quite positive 🙂

      • Incognito 9.1.1

        It was neither a complaint nor a criticism, just a reminder 😉

        It always amazes me that property rights appear to prevail over many other rights such as the right to housing. It says a lot about a society when the ownership of bricks & mortar has more sway than people’s basic needs. It says even more about a society when the people do nothing about it.

  10. David Mac 10

    Most landlords own 1 property. They are not neoliberal greedy fat cats. They are Mums and Dads that decided to enlist the help of a tenant and pay off another house loan. This instead of entrusting the money they’re tucking away for their retirement with a flash talking suit sporting a gold tooth.

    The demand for their 3 bedroom superannuation policy is high. Using all of the tools at their disposal to check on the background of the person they’re about to hand over the keys to is good sense.

    Why risk a tenant with a pet? 30 of the applicants don’t have one. Why appoint a couple that aren’t working? 20 of the applicants are working full-time, wear and tear on the house will be cut by a third. Why appoint a family with kids under 10? A professional couple won’t be riding trikes down the hall or dropping raspberry cordial on the carpet.

    I’m not arguing the rights or wrongs of this situation, I’m just saying it’s the situation.

    • Sabine 10.1

      see this is why having a ‘house’ as an investment property is wrong.

      Fact is people have pets – small or large, people have kids, heck you were someones kid at one stage – imagine living in car, etc.

      People need shelter. If people don’t have shelter then people tend to die, irrespective of age, gender and all that jazz. Simply die of exposure and to those that say can’t happen here? It can and it did. Last year, the guy in the dumpster just to name one.

      So, if Mom and Pop retirement investors can’t be bothered with the upkeep of a house, with the handling of people, with the issues that come with a rental property then frankly they should invest in Energy shares, or keep their money under their mattress.

      • greywarshark 10.1.1

        That’s hardly fair Sabine. Individuals who have one property to let are making a reasoned decision. That’s what David Mac is saying. Why should the government’s lack, fall on the shoulders of other ordinary people. And that’s how I see it – a lack of planning and a lack of willingness to act as a responsible government should, The tenants should be able to make a reasoned decision too, there should be enough places so they can get one near a school, transport, near work as they need it.

        The whole business is not carried out in a considered fashion. There should be an agency that would give people stars based on the reports from the landlord, and also perhaps the other way. The tenants would be able to defend themselves from unfair ratings so perhaps it could be done as part of the Tenancy services. Then families and pet owners would be able to say that here is proof that they are
        reliable. The tenant report would have their photos on it. Then tenants can build a credible profile.

        The government would be supplying reasonable basic housing so that there wouldn’t be that desperation of nothing being available.

        • Antoine 10.1.1.1

          Well said

          • greywarshark 10.1.1.1.1

            Antoine
            Thank you. We need to think this through to achieve best results eh.

            I wouldn’t look down on a bunch of tiny houses as first options set in a location near transport etc and people start their Star Card there and then move on to bigger house, apartment, given sweat equity option, which they would be free to turn down after discussion to see if it was an achievable goal and if they needed extra help with carrying it out.

            People then could do the economic thing, make their decision based on their needs and getting the best option that they could handle. People will emerge from just getting by and be empowered, others will settle and stress level off, and then could be helped to better lifestyle, home repair days with other families with children around and careful organisation. Gradually bring back community and mingling and up skills, not isolation and depression and stress.

            The quote

            Poor people don’t plan long-term. We’ll just get our hearts broken’.

            That comes from a book that goes right to the point and comes from a post that Anthony Robins put up in 2014 (not out of date now!). The author is expressing the difficulties that get overlooked by the comfortably off.

            Poverty and the need to belong

        • Sabine 10.1.1.2

          i have been a tenant all my life, here in NZ and elsewhere. And for what its worth, the worst conditions for tenants that I have come across have been here in NZ.

          Singing electricity
          Slugs in the bathroom every morning
          Cracks appearing in the wall
          Ductape on the Roof where Pitch flashing should be
          Water running down the walls in winter every day
          Blocked drainage resulting in rooms being flooded
          mold
          water running continuously in toilets – not cheap if one has to pay water use
          windows so bent they can’t close anymore
          Doors not properly closing
          Ovens not working
          No heating, no where
          Pluming dating back to the last century
          crumbling lino
          carpet alive with beasts
          beast infestation
          leaking roof when it rains,
          wooden steps braking cause rotten
          plastic sheeting ripping of the sun roof in a bit of wind
          Garage door literally coming crashing down on me

          etc etc etc

          you know what all these issues had in common? People owning houses, putting them up for rent, yet no upkeep. Private, Mom and Pop investors that are looking to finance their lifestyle when their eighty.

          And i have taken Barfoot and Thompson to the Tenancy Tribunal for the Duct Tape on the roof. I still have these photos that i took, of the Roof, the Trees growing out of it, the cracks in the wall appearing cause the weight of the roof got to much and shit.
          And i got a total of 600$ for my ‘inconvenience’. And i had to argue that as they are the company that has signed as ‘landlord’ that they are ultimately responsible for the upkeep of the House, while they claimed that they only collect rent, run inspections and the rest is for the owners to do, and if the owners decide to not renovate/upkeep thats too fucking bad and if we don’t like it we can move. Mind that was what we did, cause three weeks into winter i caught a chest infection, could for the live of me not heat the ice box, and when it finally leaked along the electricty lines B$T called the Roofer.
          That guy came next day, climbed up the Roof, lol’ed and came down, His words? Lady you need to move before that roof collapses and kills you.
          We had just moved in. And that was well before the “Housing Crisis”.

          So yeah, i have no respect for people that believe that milking others for rent is an ‘investment for their retirement ‘. Its fucking bullshit. It is nothing more the Slum Lording it and currently its even worth cause no matter how fucked up the place it still beats living in a car.

          Should could would are only words of speculation, and that is what the Housing Market in NZ is and has been for a long long time, speculation at the cost of the most vulnerable.

          Tenants in NZ are no better then the cows in the Dairy industry, to be milked until they drop. No better no worse.

          Heck, we can’t even get some decent laws that would force a Property Owner to inspect the roof every few years to check for broken bits and pieces and possible leaks. Cause frankly why would they spend money? Oh, cause they invested……Yeah, right tui.

          • greywarshark 10.1.1.2.1

            Sabine
            I know that you are very aware and informed on what you write about. Your contempt for all landlords is not appropriate and is not useful to the house-needing public. Some landlords should be criminally liable it’s true. But I suggest you differentiate between the good, the bad and the ugly.

            One big problem is that landlords contract out the management to companies who have no duty to you so no leverage that you can enforce. Disgraceful. These owners are amassing their assets using your rent and selling you shoddy goods that they would not countenance for themselves.

            Another big problem is that government and Treasury have decreed that greed is in, and all the RWs assess worth in others as financial worth. So many have been busy leveraging their way into rentals with the minimum of deposit needed, all the income from the rents needed to repay the mortgage costs, tax minimisation utilised fully, and nothing left in the kitty for repairs. The cold-blooded alien creatures that some ordinary NZ humans have turned into, find this reasonable and satisfactory behaviour.

            There has always been a place for having some rentals. If people were limited in how many, and companies that bought en masse had their properties regularly inspected and enforced maintenance to acceptable standards, then there would be better standards.

            Government has just been totally irresponsible for decades. However part of the problem is that the public have not bothered to get anxious and angry over the lack of provision of laws of care for property, and the withdrawal of responsibility by NZ State Housing called euphemistically something else.

            The gummint should be greatly interested in getting proper return of service for $millions it pays in accommodation subsidies which should receive as close scrutiny as do other government grant recipients (landlords being the ultimate recipients of the supplement to individual beneficiaries.) The public’s lack of energy and ignoring numbers of disastrous decisions from authorities has led to the bad medium to long-term disastrous effects we now face.

            The call by the Greens for a warrant of fitness for rentals should be implemented forthwith. Then enforcing the requirements with a plan that must be adhered to, or the property be on-sold with a department that manages the repairs perhaps in co-ordination with a tenant drawn from a list that have acquired trade skills, and can complete the cosmetic effects after the basic requirements have been properly attended. Sweat equity, motivated people acquiring skills for ongoing value and getting a home thereby is a virtuous circle that should be introduced. The basics be done first though by honest, trained, certified and experienced NZ resident people as contractors being paid around $40 per hour say, checked regularly by departmental people being paid say $50 per hour. Reasonably high wages for skills and integrity but not excessive. Direct government supervision, not through agencies getting a bite of the cherry and sometimes two bites.

            We need to think how to progress carefully and deliberately, but surely and quickly. That’s what’s needed.

            • Sabine 10.1.1.2.1.1

              i just drove through Taumaranui,

              with whole streets boarded up as the buildings are not ‘safe anymore’ . But fear not, the council is spending money on re-development and the private landlord is happy.

              I have no more contempt for Landlords then Landlords have contempt for tenants.

              Every now and then we get the stories about the tenants that trash everything, well guess what, i have met landlords that trash anything, do fuck all, expect high rates, and in our dire situation have no worries getting a tenant out of sheer desperation, and to boot if the poor fucks can’t afford the rent, we throw an ‘ Accomodation Supplement’ towards the landlord to help him overcome the obstacle in blackmailing the country.

              So no, when landlords start sleeping in cars i have pity for them. Unitl then, they are much like tenants no better then the worst of them.

              • greywarshark

                Sabine
                I think you miss my point. Unadulterated rage to all landlords is a waste of energy. Seeing you have a very credible story of what things are really like, why not get in touch with 9toNoon, along with other people you know who are suffering like you, and see if they want to get a picture of what people are getting so irate about?

                Anger is human energy, so why not send it where it can inform the most people? More than yourself would be best. If you know a local tenants group spokesperson who can tell the story for the wider group in their area, it may be a timely thing to go on to radio with, providing details of the various things that were so wrong, as you outlined in your previous comment including the opinion of the builder/repairer who said it looked ready to collapse. They won’t automatically put you on this week, but if you manage not to explode when talking about it and don’t rant too much, then people will listen to you when you do get a chance to have your say.

                • Sabine

                  this is a load of patronising bullshit.

                  you have missed my point altogether.

                  • greywarshark

                    Well that is something we both can agree on. Each one of us has missed the point the other was making. The difference, I think, is that I haven;t called what you said a load of buillshit.

    • saveNZ 10.2

      @ Sabine, is relying on the state to provide full housing, spending money, health care and a decent standard of living for those who retire (and who may live for another quarter of their lives, retired….) a more admirable idea than someone who works hard and saves to make sure they have enough money to retire on?

      I just find the hair shirt strategy of some, who denounce those who want the government (aka taxpayers) to fully fund their lifestyle on the government and those who don’t as capitalist scum.

      There’s a middle ground! Increasingly young people don’t have jobs and need social welfare support too. Middle NZ seem to have to hold the fort for their kids and parents.

      I’m all for, we all get a UBI and have a safety net OR there needs to be a way to make sure people have enough savings..

      If the financial scams have not caught your attention, where people lost all their lives savings. It’s not that safe to save in NZ. Banks don’t guarantee deposits.

      Part of the solution is creating a safe savings culture. But people have to earn enough money to save!

      How do we do that if your government’s vision is a low wage economy?

      • David Mac 10.2.1

        The left have a broad scale of ‘This is the outcome I’d like to see.’ The width creates overlaps of confliction. The core value stands:

        “Give us a fair go will ya mate?”

        What form that fair go takes is up for discussion. Right now the job at hand is presenting an opportunity to New Zealanders that captures their imaginations. There are so few of us, from every walk of life, that don’t look at what’s happening in housing and respond ‘It’s a bit of a mess, isn’t it?’ It’s the hot potato.

        Whether the woman that worked hard for 40 years to be able to have a comfortable nest should fund the home of a chap that spent his 40 years couch surfing is up for discussion. The fact remains: They both need homes.

      • Sabine 10.2.2

        If hard work would guarantee you a money, the women of ASsia and Africa would be the best paid workers in the world and DJTrump would beg for pennies on the road side.

        Saving is nice, but unless and until saving accounts pay more interest in a year the what the yearly fee costs it makes no sense to save, you will actually end up loosing money in fees to the bank.
        Saving is nice, but not when you can’t access that savings account when you have cancer and need to pay privately for your treatment.

        Non of this changes the fact that we as a society need to look after us. We need to make sure that we have accommodation for young people, for people with kids, for people without kids, for old people. Some of us can buy a property, some of us choose to rent. I always liked renting as it allowed me to up size/down size as my life changed over the years.

        So while i applaud people who are able to save for their savings, i think someone who needs a Top up from WINZ and an Accomodation Supplement cause their MacDo job does not pay enough, or they cant get full time 40 hours of work, or they pay more for child care then food will have a hard time saving.

        as for the government, i would like to remind you that the government is voted in by the people. So maybe the people like the misery of some to the betterment of a few.

        We need to provide us with the necessities of life, and i have no issues with first building houses and flats for people to live in rather then increase the interest rates on someones investment portfolio. Cause at the end of the day, i rather build a house to increase the value of my community in which i live then increase the value of a property developer/landlord who will have no issue milking the tenant as if they were a dairy cow.

  11. Keith 11

    This subject and many similar on centre left blogs have the same common thread. The people that are victim to this governments disdain for them at worst or indifference at best, DO NOT VOTE.

    As proven by the well healed of Auckland when the council blundered into proposing extensions to the container wharves even further into the Waitemata, thereby ruining their leisure time of yachting and boating, was that they will be very noisy and you can be guaranteed that they vote. And they will remember who crossed them if their grievance is ignored.

    Auckland Council and its politicians backed down asap, simply because they knew they would be turfed out come election time. The fact the continued reclamation of the harbour was a bloody stupid idea never came into it.

    I feel for Clare Curran. She knows that getting the missing millions who are no longer able to buy their own homes for example and more importantly those at the very bottom of society to register and then vote would see National and its cling ons, the Maori Party, Act and Dunne gone. But the simple act of voting is just too hard for them. Neo lib governments rely very much on low voter turn outs to survive.

    Very little will change until enough people change habits of a lifetime, engage and simply vote.

    • David Mac 11.1

      To make the plea ‘C’mon sport, please vote’ is asking people to behave in a certain way.

      The call to action needs to be of such a strength they don’t need asking. A lousy 20 minutes of a Saturday morning in September, the call doesn’t need to be that strong.

      Potential voters need to believe that they stand a good chance of solving their, their family, friends’ and co-kiwis’ housing issues by sacrificing those 20 minutes in September.

  12. AsleepWhileWalking 12

    Squatting is an improvement on what many people now have.

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