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The Greens on the need for rental law changes

Written By: - Date published: 7:15 am, September 26th, 2019 - 11 comments
Categories: greens, housing, marama davidson, tenants' rights - Tags:

Press Release from the Green Party

Wednesday, September 25, 2019 – 08:00

The Green Party is welcoming the Real Estate Institute’s campaign to change property management rules, launched today.

“We’ll be looking to meet with industry leaders to discuss how we can make progress together,” said Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson.

“People who rent deserve their homes to be safe and secure and to be treated with dignity,

“Property managers have a lot of power over tenants with no rules about how they can and can’t behave. This needs to change,

“Unethical behaviour by some property managers includes allegations of extortion, false reporting, privacy breaches and other unacceptable conduct,

“This leads to poor housing outcomes for many renters including some of our most vulnerable communities,

“Working with the industry to put in place proper regulation will help solve this problem.

ENDS

Notes for editors

Today the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand has launched the ‘Call for Change’ campaign: https://www.acallforchange.co.nz/

Over 30 organisations currently support the campaign, including Consumer NZ, Salvation Army, Property Council NZ, Habitat for Humanity, Renters United, Tenants Protection Association, and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

______________________________________________________________________________

From Stuff:

Green co-leader Marama Davidson says the Government focused too much on KiwiBuild at the expense of fixing the rental market.

Davidson is meeting with Associate Housing Minister Kris Faafoi on Wednesday night to discuss the matter, following a new push from the real estate industry to regulate property managers.

Marama Davidson says rental law changes need to be a priority over KiwiBuild.

Then-housing Minister Phil Twyford sent out these ideas for consultation in mid-2018, saying the law would be in place in 2020, but almost a year on from consultation ending no draft bill has been produced.

The Government’s proposed changes to rental laws include an end to no-cause tenancy terminations, and a limit in rent increases to once a year. 
Davidson, who launched the proposals with Twyford, said this wasn’t good enough.

“It’s not happening fast enough, at all…It hasn’t been the priority so far,” Davidson said.

“Honestly, KiwiBuild has been the priority – I think that is very clear.”

“These are urgent changes we can make. And for far too long the market and has had power and people haven’t.”

The 2018 census figures showed 527,853 households were renting, roughly a third of all households.

Davidson said this number was only going to go up and renting had to be a “valid way of life”.

“Renting cannot be a second-class option for people. Renting has to be a valid way of life. Around the world we’ve seem places with really strong rights for tenants have worked out really, really, well.”

She welcomed a new campaign led by the Real Estate Industry of New Zealand to increase regulations on property managers.

Faafoi told Stuff on Tuesday he was hoping to introduce a bill by the end of the year.

He said it was important to make sure that the Government got “all parties” onboard and that he had been meeting with the sector to get his head around the issue.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Green Party Housing Policy.

11 comments on “The Greens on the need for rental law changes”

  1. Kay 1

    Make Kiwibuild rental properties only. The property manager could be the government. Or is that a bit of a radical idea? Sounds vaguely familiar.

    Having actual homes for people to benefit from rental law changes is the first priority. Rental homes with long term leases for long term security. Not this am I going to be homeless at the end of this fixed lease hanging over our heads crap that is the reality for so many people now.

    Totally support regulating property managers. A relative got screwed by one of them, cost her about $20,000 in property damage and the stress involved.

  2. Blazer 2

    You are really advocating for more state houses Kay.

    They are certainly needed and some rent to own state sponsored plan makes sense.

    • Kay 2.1

      Yep, more and more state houses. I don't need to spell out why here.

      I'm also very open to the idea of private developers building a variety of types of accommodation specifically for long-term rental, and that only, with incentives to get them built. Once built the housing can never be sold privately. Let's transition to a European-style system.

      But as long as this divide and rule campaign pitching landlords/property managers vs tenants continues (fueld in most by the media) we're never going to progress. Tenents will always be way down the foodchain.

    • SPC 2.2

      Really? State houses are income related rent. "Kiwi Build rentals" until such time as they were sold, or became rent to buy leases, would be at market rate rent.

  3. Leaps 3

    As someone in the industry, I have no problem with improving things for tenants to make it possible to have longer term rental properties. However, this needs to be balanced by investment property owners not loosing too many of their rights to control their investments. With greater control for tenants must come greater responsibility to look after and maintain the property.

    Regulation of Property Managers will not fix all the problems that exist in the sector. REINZ are pushing for regulation so that the larger real estate companies get more market share of managed properties. There are rogue operators in any industry and regulation will not necessarily remove them. It's been my experience that generally independent Property Managers do a better job than those that belong REINZ – both for tenants and owners.

    • Brigid 3.1

      People keep telling me that the professions they have the least respect for are Real Estate Agents and Property Infesters.

      Why do you suppose that is?

  4. Stuart Munro. 4

    Ultimately the power imbalance is too great. Tenants are always getting screwed, and in contemporary NZ, the declining economic prospects created by decades of unrelenting neoliberal lies mean that renting is to be avoided at all costs. Better that the Greens not find common cause with the rack-renting slumlords, but legislate them out of existence.

    • weka 4.1

      how would that work? eg I'm renting someone's family home while they're living elsewhere. If being a landlord was illegal I suspect this house would be let illegally and the tenants would have little or no protection.

      • Brigid 4.1.1

        Having enough public provided housing will see their numbers diminish.

        They'll no longer find the market quite so obscenely desirable with their exorbitant rents.

      • Stuart Munro. 4.1.2

        It's an interesting question – but differential taxation is the usual answer – rent-seeking is negative behavior economically speaking, so there's no reason it should not face higher taxation. The trick is not to make it illegal, but to make it unprofitable.

        Solon's reforms are pertinent here – prior to them predatory lending against land was pushing smaller and poorer farmers off their land and their families into debt bondage and ultimately slavery. By outlawing such lending and debt bondage slavery, the capital class were obliged to invest instead in the more socially and economically productive trade.

        Unhappily the neoliberal cult wants to treat all enterprises equally, when the social and environmental consequences are by no means equal. If we want a better, more sustainable society, antisocial practices like letting and real estate speculation must be made to pay their full social cost.

  5. millsy 5

    I think the 90 day notice provision needs to remain. Perhaps extended to 120 days maybe. As much as I support tenant's rights, there needs to be an 'out'. Though I guess this issue can be solved simply by moving to a fixed term tenancy for one year and if the landlord wants the tenants out, when he lets them know 90 days before the tenancy ends.

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