Tenancy Stuff.

Written By: - Date published: 8:44 am, December 2nd, 2017 - 45 comments
Categories: class war, cost of living, Economy, International, political alternatives, Politics, poverty, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: , ,

In a land far away and governed by (according to some Labour Party sources) a party wedded to austerity…

Any tenancy that starts on or after 1 December 2017 will be a private residential tenancy. This new tenancy will replace the assured and short assured tenancy and will bring in changes and improvements to the private rented sector, including:

No more fixed terms – private residential tenancies will be open-ended, meaning your landlord can’t ask you to leave just because you’ve been in the property for 6 months as they can with a short assured tenancy.

Rent increases – your rent can only be increased once every 12 months and if you think the proposed increase is unfair you can refer it to a rent officer.

Longer notice period – if you’ve lived in a property for longer than 6 months your landlord will have to give you at least 84 days notice to leave (unless you’ve broken a term in the tenancy agreement).

Simpler notices – the notice to quit process will be scrapped and replaced by a simpler notice to leave process.

Model tenancy agreement – the Scottish Government will publish a model private residential tenancy that can be used by landlords to set up a tenancy.

Meanwhile, the Tenant’s Union “Living Rent” is on the cusp of becoming a nationwide organisation and the Green Party hope to bring legislation in line with France and outlaw evictions during winter months.

Those welcoming the new legislation include Shelter Scotland, The Scottish Association of Landlords, activists and all bar 14 of members of the Scottish Parliament.

Given that NZ has a PM who wishes to see a “better” New Zealand, and given NZ Labour’s claim that it will take serious action to end homelessness in line with the recommendations of the Cross-Party Homelessness Inquiry, I’m looking forward to some government announcements on (from the Cross Party Homelessness Inquiry’s “Summary of Recommendations”)…

9. Income related rent subsidies for existing community housing tenants.
10. Greater security of tenure for renters.
11. Review the Accommodation Supplement.

Actually, I’m looking forward to number 9 being extended to include all tenants, and for numbers 9 through 11 to be given more of a priority than (number 3) the nonsensical  ‘trickle down’ policy of building more affordable homes to ‘fix’ homelessness.

 

 

45 comments on “Tenancy Stuff.”

  1. Kay 1

    A lovely dream Bill. But I guess as one of the many who are now so cynical of anything any politician says in regards to improving our everyday existence, well I’ll only believe it if it happens.

    Nice idea though- Scotland seems on the ball.

  2. RedLogix 2

    If you read this page from the Scot govt, none of it seems all that unreasonable:

    https://beta.gov.scot/publications/private-residential-tenancies-tenants-guide/

    The big difference as I understand it is that like Germany, in Scotland most people rent the home they live in, and most residential property is actually owned and operated by a relatively small number of quite large landlords. These are generally fairly large and professional entities, which are registered with councils and operate within quite clear cut guidelines.

    So none of this looks unexpected, unreasonable or a ‘dream’. Quite the contrary, it looks exactly like I would expect a mature rental market to operate. Note carefully that it’s not all one way traffic, while tenants do enjoy better conditions and protections than we are used to in NZ … they also have clearer cut obligations and responsibilities.

    Don’t pay you rent, damage the place, or cause any kind of nuisance and the landlord has clearly defined rights to evict. And almost certainly you won’t get a reference; something that your next professional landlord will demand as a matter of course.

    • Andre 2.1

      So when a lousy tenant shits the nest and gets booted out, where do they go? The streets?

      • jcuknz 2.1.1

        If you want to be a lousy house occupier then do it is your own place and do not expect somebody to cover your bad behavior.

      • Bill 2.1.2

        The council house waiting list? Emergency housing?

      • RedLogix 2.1.3

        Short answer Andre …. social housing. Society as a whole can either decide to pick up the tab for your shortcomings. Or not, in which case … the streets. That’s different political issue.

        I know how many people here love having a good rant about their bastard landlord, but the generally accepted figure in our business is about 8 – 10% of tenants are hopeless one way or another. The two most common characteristics is they expect their landlord to act as a bank with endless credit terms, or they don’t understand the obligation of good behaviour and care their agreement requires of them.

        • Andre 2.1.3.1

          Government owned and managed housing is the only acceptable answer I see for those that are unsuited to dealing with a private landlord. The last government appeared to be trying to wriggle out of the last vestiges of that responsibility, hopefully the new government will take it back on board again.

          But I still have hopes of somebody coming up with useful and viable alternative suggestions.

        • tracey 2.1.3.2

          If it is 8 to 10% there need not be such widespread concern about the WOF? All sectors have rogues. Regulation sadly is always about the lowest common denominator and those capavble of self regulating get caught in it.

        • Sabine 2.1.3.3

          how high is the accepted figure of in your business of the hopeless landlords one way or another.

          And what are the two most common characteristics that define a hopeless landlord?

          really i would like to know? Just for the fairness of it all.

          • RedLogix 2.1.3.3.1

            I can only suppose you think all landlords are hopeless; but in the interests of a good faith answer I think the two most characteristics of a bad landlord will be; failure to perform reasonable maintenance and not giving tenants ‘quiet enjoyment’.

            • Sabine 2.1.3.3.1.1

              I don’t think that at all, but for fairness sake you just basically stated that 8 – 10 % of all tenants are hopeless – according to the industry – with no link provided to back up your claim.

              Now i am sure your industry will also have a study on hopeless landlords, and i just wanted you to provide that information for fairness sake.

              I think it was a fair question.

              For what its worth, i had good landlords and i had really bad ones. You might find it interesting that i would consider the landlords that give their houses over to ‘Rental Managers’ the worst ones. I never really had any issues with the Mom and Pop investors, as they usually look after their investment. The worst landlords are the ‘ beneficiaries of a trust’ as there are usual a number of people involved and generally speaking they can’t get their shit together, also i would never ever in my life rent again from Barfoot n Thompson, i’d rather live in a ditch.

              • RedLogix

                Everyone has different experiences; we have two different managers, one is excellent, the other less so but we don’t have any better options in that location. Here in Australia the managers we’ve been renting with (we’re both landlords AND tenants) have been highly professional and organised.

                The 8 – 10% figure lines up with various industry magazine articles I’ve read and our own experience over 20 years dealing with close to 100 tenants. The exact definition of ‘hopeless’ is pretty vague, but the big three are not paying rent in an organised or timely fashion, causing damage, and anti-social behaviour that creates complaints from others.

                As with all experienced landlords we’ve gone through the phase of giving these people a much of a fair deal as possible. Our generosity was never reciprocated, the problem always gets worse and ends up unhappily. Nowadays, the first sign of problems gets a fair warning, the next results an eviction notice done precisely by the book. Sorry if you don’t like to read that, but the costs bad tenants create, eventually flow onto higher rents for all the good tenants. That isn’t fair either.

                Having said all this; I’ve been quite clear, the entire industry needs better regulation and professionalism from BOTH sides. Too many unhappy stories from BOTH tenants and landlords make for an adversarial and unpleasant business. BOTH have a strong interest in reform and better protections; it would be better to work together to achieve this.

                • Sabine

                  You are misunderstanding me. I don’t dispute the fact that bad tenants cause trouble for neighbourghs and costs for landlords.

                  I just would like to see a similar expose about bad landlords. You know those that don’t renovate, that live overseas and can’t be reached, the ones that come mowing the lawns on a Sunday at 9 am, the ones that don’t sign refund forms for bonds even when there is no issue, the ones that come by the property to inspect without calling first, the ones that increase rent every 6 month despite the fact that they don’t invest – cause hey, move out if ya dont like it, the ones that have faulty ovens installed – these are just a few issues that i have personally experienced or seen friends exposed too.

                  I want the discussion to be fair. I am over the naming of tenants as ‘hopeless’ to the point of attaching a number to them while at the same time glossing over the no doubt equal number of hopeless landlords.

                  I would also like to know how many times a ‘hopeless’ tenant was made into a ‘hopeless tenant’ who does not pay rent or shortens rent due to leaks, lack of maintenance etc etc etc .

                  IF we are to have this discussion we should address both sides properly. At the moment you are defending your class – the land lord class while you seem to have no issue bashing those that make your money – the tenants.

                  • RedLogix

                    You wrote:

                    IF we are to have this discussion we should address both sides properly. At the moment you are defending your class – the land lord class while you seem to have no issue bashing those that make your money – the tenants.

                    And I wrote:

                    Having said all this; I’ve been quite clear, the entire industry needs better regulation and professionalism from BOTH sides. Too many unhappy stories from BOTH tenants and landlords make for an adversarial and unpleasant business. BOTH have a strong interest in reform and better protections; it would be better to work together to achieve this.

                    Draw your own conclusions.

    • Muttonbird 2.2

      NZ landlords have all those protection but don’t provide nearly the same service.

    • Bill 2.3

      Nice link. I’m not favourably disposed towards all of it (far too bureaucratic), but just picking through it at random…

      Renting out property without being registered with the council is a criminal offence and your landlord can be served with a Rent Penalty Notice (which prevents them from charging you rent) or fined up to £50,000 if found guilty.

      If a local council thinks rents are rising too much in a certain area, they can apply to Scottish Ministers to have that area designated as a ‘rent pressure zone’. This means a cap (a maximum limit) is set on how much rents are allowed to increase for existing tenants each year in that area.

      • RedLogix 2.3.1

        It’s my understanding the rental market in Scotland looks quite different to NZ, with small ‘mum and dad’ operators not being the norm. In that context I’m totally ok with the idea that large rental businesses and their leasing agents should be formally registered as they would likely have the resources to deal with the extra paperwork and bureaucracy.

        • Bill 2.3.1.1

          Every house I ever rented in Scotland (a goodly number) was through a private individual (a “mum and dad” operator).

          According to “The Guardian’s” report on the legislation, 15% of homes in Scotland are private rentals. Then there are the council houses (equivalent to HNZ).

          I believe that just under 60% of homes are owner/occupied (NZ is just over 60%)

          • RedLogix 2.3.1.1.1

            OK … thanks. I still don’t have a lot of issue with registration. There’s a fair bit of paperwork already in the business (my partner used to spend quite a bit of time on it before we went over to managers) … and being registered probably also comes with some useful protections as well.

        • Obtrectator 2.3.1.2

          I dunno …. requiring registration with the local authority sounds to me like a nice little earner for cash-strapped councils. Especially when they’re able to find “faults” first time round that have to be rectified, with subsequent inspection to ensure they have been (tick … tick … tick … goes the meter). Then there’s renewal of registration (not always strictly necessary, but hey – why forego another easy fee?), or further inspections to ensure that new rules (or new interpretations of existing rules) are being complied with ….

          • Bill 2.3.1.2.1

            Correct. You “dunno”.

            Approx $100 one off registration fee and $20 per property.

            And the registration fee is subject to 50% and 100% reductions in some circumstances….as are the property fees.

            Re-register every three years.

            https://www.landlordregistrationscotland.gov.uk/fees-information

            • Obtrectator 2.3.1.2.1.1

              Nor I did, Bill – and thanks for providing the information.

              However …. what guarantee is there that the fees and rebates will stay at those levels? There’s a lot of public-sector charges in NZ that used to be nominal, but which have since been upped considerably “to reflect the true cost”.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                What guarantee is there?

                None. After any election, the National Party can destroy as much as it can get its hands on.

                Those “cash-strapped councils” are a case in point. Decades of treating local politics like a rich mens’ game has led inexorably to indebtedness and waste water contracts being awarded to pâtissières.

  3. David Mac 3

    I’d prefer we adjust the existing system, I feel it has the potential to be all that we need.

    We already have what is effectively an independent national government forum service for tenants. The tenancy tribunal is a casual 1 on 1 affair, no lawyers allowed. It’s appeal is enhanced when considering how it is funded: Not so long ago, landlords hung onto tenants’ bonds. Now they’re sent to a government body and the interest earned on those funds runs Tenancy Services.

    If the tribunal was healthy, half of the cases being heard would be brought about by tenants. Currently 95% of them are instigated by landlords. I’d prefer we were educating tenants of the rights and services already available to them as opposed to appointing government officers to make appts and pop round to push smoke alarm test buttons.

    It’s currently illegal for a landlord to provide a draughty house. There’s a blank free form on the Tenancy Services website. It requires adding about 20 words. Send the 14 day notice to the landlord. By law he is required to have his address for service on the tenancy agreement. If repairs aren’t arranged within the 14 days, the tenant then fills out another form, an application for a hearing. The fee is $20.44 which will be returned when the tenant wins. If they put in a bit of effort, they will win. If they gave the landlord a 14 day notice to comply a year before, they will probably have a year’s rent returned to them.

    I’d prefer we empowered tenants and put the system we have through it’s paces.

    Paying more than market rent? That’s illegal, go him for exemplary charges, costs $20.44.

    Won’t fix the leaking roof? That’s illegal, nail that property manager.

    Being asked to leave simply because you stuck up for your rights?..oh dear. That’s illegal and the exemplary charges of $1000’s for retaliatory action will have the landlord in tears.

    • Bill 3.1

      I’ve no problem with adjusting what’s already there in terms of conflict.

      So as a first step, let’s make the tenancy tribunal free for tenants. ($20 is a lot of money for unemployed or low-waged peeps).

      And of course, there’s the legitimate fear tenants will have when considering going to the tribunal. Retribution is real, and just like as is the case with employers, usually successful.

      Did I mention NZs rates of illiteracy (somewhat of a barrier to going to the tribunal) and the reality for a lot of people – that they’ve experienced nothing much bar institutional abuse when approaching ‘officialdom’?

      And then there are the cultural gulfs – all those privileged peeps presiding over your case with their culturally ingrained expectations with regards mannerisms and speech etc.

      That can be incredibly intimidating for many.

      Maybe well resourced and funded advocacy services as a matter of course and with no strings attached re future funding?

      • David Mac 3.1.1

        Interpreter service is available. You’re allowed to take a support person.

        The adjudicators are very good at focusing on identifying breaches of the Residential Tenancies Act whilst ignoring any shortcomings an individual might have in sharing their concerns. They aren’t looking for Perry Mason, they dig for the truth.

        • Sabine 3.1.1.1

          Then you still have to take off time from work. Represent yourself, cause who can afford a lawyer, never mind the landlord, or acting landlord aka Ray White, Barfoot n Thompson etc are represented by a lawyer and are getting paid for it.

          i took Barfoot and Thompson to the Tribunal, it was an absolute waste of my time in terms of compensation, but hey i was lucky, at least my water logged roof did not fall on my head while i was sleeping, only a few leaks, cracks in the walls and the door pulling of the frame all withing the first rains in June. Good times.

      • Siobhan 3.1.2

        You can add to that ..stress…33 years renting, 30+ landlords, and the number of times I’ve had issues with landlords and have just been glad to get the heck out of there, and are so relieved to just find a new place the last thing in the world I have time for is following up on actions (or inactions) by the landlord.
        Even though I know I should, if for no other reason than to protect the next tenant.

        When you are at the low end of the rental market there are probably many battles you are fighting simultaneously..like putting food on the table..who has time to fight the landlord?.
        Generally I find the more comfortably off one is the more likely you are to feel you have ‘The Right’ to legal official recourse, a sense that you are inherently ‘Right’, people on the back foot just don’t have that.

        We should have a Minister of Life Time Renters, because it really is a bigger and more complicated issue than building a few State Houses and a bunch of $500,000 houses.

        • David Mac 3.1.2.1

          Yes, it’s hard, out of the comfort zone, easier not to but it’s those kind of things that provide a warm glow of satisfaction like nothing else can.

          Somebody can only make us feel like a lesser person when we give them permission to.

    • Yes I am with David Mac on this as we have seen overseas rentals widely as we travelling as a family experienced during the last 30yrs.

      The “Tenancy Services system” that the Labour Government set-up in 1980’s was quite good and provided even handed legal rights for landlords and tenants.

      “Tenancy Agreement Services”; https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/starting-a-tenancy/tenancy-agreements/

      I would like to place our “experiences and warnings over on this string also because this is such a challenging subject that Government does need to hear our seperate inputs that we as ‘individuals’ wish to express ahead of their 18 month long commissioned study panel into producing the “Safe Rental Homes policy”

      I wish to emphasise the issue of “safe” as our issue here regarding what “in health terms” is actually what a safe home should be considered as importantly providing, in our own widely travelled experiences.

      When they all talk about the “leaky homes issue” I wish to say that we regard “leaky”; – as being ‘water leaking into homes’ specifically causing “cold. damp, mouldy homes”

      Importantly not just a “leaking of air into homes”, (presumably through older wooden windows and under wooden doors) as there is an important principal difference here.

      So I need to explain the logic of why we must understand this difference.

      I was raised in a non-insulated home during the 1950’s and in England my wife was raised in a concrete walled non insulated home, and we are now 73 and 71 and both are not hospitalised so insulation is not the big deal the food heating and lack of chemicals is the most important issue that saved us and will save everyone in our experience.

      You see in Toronto where it is truly an artic climate they got all worked up when I was there in 1972 as they were ordering all homes to be insulated and they flew spotter planes around the city to find homes that leaked our heating in winter so if folks allowed heat to escape they could get fined.
      So then they built all new homes and ‘apartment towers up to 22 stories high with seal windows to trap in the heating.

      By 1976 Toronto and the other cities were fining residents were becoming ill with strange symptoms like “chronic fatigue syndrome” and other symptoms.
      A health department study began and after several years the term “sick building syndrome” came out.

      The building designers and medical teams found that the lack of indoor fresh air was making all people sick so they began replacing the seal windows with opening windows again.

      Ontario health and Health Canada did very extensive air quality sampling inside these homes apartments. and office towers in Toronto Ottawa, Montreal and other provinces and found that if you seal a home and don’t allow for some “natural flow of air” through these environments the chemical pollution build up within these sealed building increases to five times that of the outdoor air.
      That is what my wife and I who are over 70 have no serious health problems today as we leave a window slightly ajar in every room to circulate out any build-up of indoor pollutants.

      Since I too was ‘chemically poisoned’ in that city while working inside one of those fully sealed buildings then without air (HVAC) system working then for six months; was exposed to all manner of buiilding chemicals, ( paints, floor adhesives, formaldehyde/styrene/VOC’s, new un-air out carpeting, and expoxy sprays that were so dangerous without ventilation to be exposed to, I can advise you it is not wise to seal buildings even when you have a “central air heating system” as we all had those in our homes also in Toronto and most got sick with them, so outdoor air is cleaner than indoor air remember please.

      Last concerns are the location of rental homes if near busy truck routes;

      If propertyis rented near busy truck corridors or roads that carry lots of heavy truck freight to ports or other centres then these homes should have a air quality report of exposure to truck traffic noise vibration & air quality specifically.

      In our case in Napier, I need to make an exception here, as anyone who is living alongside a busy ‘truck road’ has bad outdoor air too, as we all in Napier do with the “highway from hell” the “HB Expressway” is a bad place to be being a toxic air location to live near, and this is confirmed in this report; entitled as “HB Expressway Noise and air quality issues” 2005.
      http://www.pce.parliament.nz/media/1515/hb-expressway.pdf

      I for one would welcome being part of a “community advisory panel” to input the planning of a new “rental home policy” plan and offer this pledge of the new Housing Minister Phil Twyford now today, as I see that Phil Twyford is wanting to restore rail again as part of the freight carrier to lower trucks on the roads this may help, as the PCE report advices Government that rail is one of the ‘mitigation measures’ in his recomendations..

      • tracey 3.2.1

        A concrete wall is a form of insulation when compared to weatherboard. You find few weatherboard homes in tge UK

        • cleangreen 3.2.1.1

          100% Tracey.

          We found the same in Canada.

          Block walled and they dont put a inside wall of cladding over them as it will promote the growth of moisture and mould due to the changed temperture beteen the cladding and the outside wall being concrete.

          So when we stayed some motels there we saw many concrete walls with seal paint.

          The floors of basements are concrete to and are traeted with a water sealing material only and we had a contractor do this when we lowered the basement floor of a house we bought once ther and they sprayed the stuff on the concrete a week after pouring the floor and left it two weeks before we could take it back as our habitat again.

          Strasngely our concrete pool now needs sealing again after twently years and the pool experts tell us we need a special (expensive) concrete pool sealer so maybe we are catching up to the overseas models of concrete insulation.

    • Lara 3.3

      while you are right in that a landlord giving a tenant notice to leave after the tenant complains by issuing a 14 day notice would be considered retaliatory by the TT, the reality in a market where long term rentals are hard to come by is quite different

      as a tenant I know that if I issue a 14 day notice I can pretty much expect to be evicted. maybe not now, but within a year for sure

      and once enough time has passed the TT couldn’t consider it retaliatory

      what we need is security of tenure

      landlords should only be able to evict tenants if the tenants do not meet their responsibilities of if the landlord needs the property for themselves…. which still opens up a loophole wide enough to drive a truck through

      and I am a landlord and a tenant so I’m seeing both sides here

      • David Mac 3.3.1

        Yes Lara, I too fear if tying landlords to longer leases the loopholes will be exploited.

        So much would be eased with more properties to rent but on our current trajectory I’m not holding much hope for the short-term. I’ve been wondering about the families around me up here in the sub tropical Far North that are renting uninsulated homes, baches etc. As of July 2019, they’re all in illegal dwellings. It’s easy to see the sense in setting a national standard but is it logical to make the same demands of a landlord insulating a house in Invercargill as the landlord insulating one in the frost free Far North?

        I agree Lara, the security tenure of occupancy provides is immeasurable, it instills a sense of belonging. How can we do it without ripping away someone’s rights to determine outcomes for the property they own?

        • Lara 3.3.1.1

          Well, I think that the responsibilities to provide a habitat fit for purpose is more important than the rights of property owners to do as they choose with their properties.

          Or, another way to put it, you and I can do whatever we please with our properties, but as soon as we want to get an income from renting it out it must reach minimum standards. And I don’t think insulation is unreasonable, even in Northland which is also where I live. Winters can still get cold up here

          It was indicative of how landlords behave here in NZ that when insulation was subsidised, most of the uptake was by owner occupiers and relatively little by landlords for their rentals. Because it’s still a cost that’s not tax deductible (it’s an improvement, not maintenance).

          For too long too many landlords have put the bare minimum or less into their rentals, and extracted the most they can. Consequently too many NZers are forced to live in substandard housing. And yes I say forced, because there is a dearth of rentals available all over NZ. Where I live it’s becoming chronic.

          Those properties need to be improved to a more liveable standard.

          I think the answer is for government to increase its proportion of available rental properties and manage them well. We used to do it, we need to do it again. Because that provides the bottom line below which private landlords have a hard time falling because then tenants would really have a choice.

          • Craig H 3.3.1.1.1

            Fully agree with this:

            “Or, another way to put it, you and I can do whatever we please with our properties, but as soon as we want to get an income from renting it out it must reach minimum standards.”

            As soon as a homeowner goes into business as a landlord, there should be minimum standards to meet, and it’s not a breach of any property rights.

  4. David Mac 4

    When more tenants make a ‘Hey, this is not on Buster!’ stand and Real estate franchise owners are watching their clients’ money sail out the door we will get closer to reaching consensus on requiring property managers to attain more skills than operating a phone and car.

  5. red-blooded 5

    I took my last landlord to the tenancy tribunal (many years ago now). They ruled in my favour and imposed quite a significant fine on the landlord (and, I think, the property manager who told me the house wasn’t for sale when I signed the lease but who was bringing prospective buyers through while I was at work). A reasonable portion of it came to me, and they also had to help with my removal costs.

    I do question some of your thinking about this, though, Bill:
    “Actually, I’m looking forward to number 9 being extended to include all tenants…”
    How do you see that working? How can you force private landlords to lower their rent if a tenant’s employment status or income changes? And surely this sort of measure would just see landlords refusing to rent to lower income people (unless their properties were pretty damn awful)?

    I now own a house that I rent out (it was my first self-owned home) and over the years I’ve rented it to people in all sorts of different circumstances, including people on various types of benefits. I’ve had tenants whose personal circumstances changed drastically. One guy was working in a stable job when he moved in but about 6 months later he had to go onto the sickness benefit. My costs didn’t change (and I don’t actually make a profit on the rent from the house) – should I have been forced by law to drop the rent? If I had been, and there was a law that meant I was forced to continue with him as a tenant, I would have tried to sell the property. The problem would be finding a buyer – this would be a loss-making house, who would want to buy it?

    While the accommodation-supplement approach can be criticised as just subsidising property owners, and allowing for inflated rents, there are also problems with your suggested approach. I have no problem with increasing the resources for and powers of the tenancy tribunal, and it could be that all leases should include a reference to the right for either party to go to the tribunal. I think there’s possibly a role for the tribunal in assessing what’s a fair rent. I don’t think it’s reasonable or practical to try to impose a link to tenants’ income in private rental agreements, though.

    As for your “trickle down” comments about building more affordable homes, do you think the laissez faire, do nothing approach is working? Nobody has said that building more homes is the only answer to homelessness, but it’s certainly part of the answer in the more crowded parts of the nation. That applies to private housing and state housing or community housing. I think you’ll find that the proportion of people without secure housing in places with plenty of housing stock, including rental housing, is a hell of a lot lower than in places were there’s a significant shortage. I live in Dunedin and we do have some people who live rough and we do have people who find it hard to make the rent and who move from place to place quite frequently, but we don’t have families living in garages or cars, or crowded into one room, as they are in Auckland, and we don’t have day/night tenants like they do in Queenstown (one person in the bed during the day, a different person at night).

    I’m glad the Healthy Homes Bill has been passed. Everyone deserves a home that gives them genuine shelter.

    • Bill 5.1

      I do question some of your thinking about this, though, Bill…

      Did I not…yup…I put up a post with links that address your questions. Sort of. See. No-where is it said that rent should be dependent upon a persons’ income. That’s a separate issue.

      And laissez faire is ‘trickle down economics’…so I’m struggling to understand the logic beneath your apparent defence of NZ Labour’s approach to homelessness.

      Anyway…

      • red-blooded 5.1.1

        Actually, Bill, I think I misread your comment (I didn’t notice the word “subsidies” and just saw it as “income-related rent”). I’m tired and hot and clearly didn’t read carefully enough. Sorry about that.

        My comments about a “laissez faire” approach apply to the last government, who wouldn’t step in an take an active role in the housing market. I wouldn’t classify the policy that we’re seeing from this lot as laissez faire – they’re committed to providing more state and community housing, and that’s a significant intervention in the housing market. So’s the Kiwibuild programme. It might not be the intervention you would design if you were in charge, but it’s certainly not “laissez faire” (which, by definition, means to do nothing and trust “the market” to find its own solutions).

  6. David Mac 6

    I think it was about 10 years ago that our primary concern about having to move shifted from hiring a truck and getting the kids into new schools to the anticipation of meeting 10 couples at a rental viewing.

    It would be good to get headed in the right direction soon with building. An auction can be viewed as an open way of determining the market value of something. I can’t see too much stopping property owners from staging auctions for pre-approved potential tenants, could be done online. A NZer’s right to a roof pushed further away.

  7. savenz 7

    I’d say the biggest hitch to this post is that there does seem to be a huge shortage of rental properties and landlords.

    caused by…. when government allowed private practise to take over rentals for the past 30 years and at the same time sold off much social housing and state housing… then bought in upwards of 70,000 people per year as permanent citizens/residents and 180,000 on temporary working visas for years and years and they all needed somewhere to live too plus had a tourist boom, faked all the statistics so nobody knows what is going on with housing or immigration, , let alone solve it, your houses can be bought by overseas buyers as investments, new and existing housing is not affordable for the local wages, when the cost of a house does not make any economic sense to rent it, monopolies of building suppliers as well as quality control of materials like concrete and steel and plumbing is an issue, when the profit model of building is producing slow unaffordable buildings that leak and need remedial work, when P has become such an epidemic that even the waste water is now contaminated not to mention P contamination of much of the existing rental housing, and climate change, natural disasters and poor management has led to earthquakes and flooding taking out housing on a consistent basis, then you have some big problems to solve.

    If you don’t concentrate on solving those no matter how good the conditions are, NZ is well short (and growing) of the amount of rental houses needed vs house available to rent.

    • Craig H 7.1

      Minor correction – the last government allowed net migration of 70,000+, which included new residents, but also included temporary visa holders willing to live here more than 12 months e.g. students, longer term workers, partners of both etc.

      That 180,000 is mostly working holidaymakers with a few short term workers e.g. repair personnel, and they don’t take up as much permanent space as long term workers (they tend to use hotels, serviced apartments and holiday houses).

      That aside, you’re bang on about the general causes, and I doubt it makes a big difference either way – we’re still bringing in people faster than we are building houses for them, and that’s the main issue.

  8. Sparky 8

    Watch as the number of properties available to rent dry’s up in a heartbeat (sometimes simply having a property as an asset is enough without the need to rent it-capital gain can be an end in itself) and those that are available impose rents that go through the ceiling to cover the risk this brave new world of tenancy means for landlords.

    Only realistic in a country where there is plenty of property to rent relative to the population. Not one where there are acute shortages.

    • Craig H 8.1

      People who buy and sell houses without renting them out at all will definitely be targeted by IRD as capital gains merchants. Agree that it’s possible that people will do that anyway, but they will pay much more tax if they do.

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