Green Party calls for stricter tenancy laws

Thursday 24 January 2013

Warrants of fitness for rentals and restrictions on rent hikes are high on the Green Party list of priorities in its new housing policy, released today.

The party wants to put home ownership within the reach of more New Zealanders and make renting more secure.

It is proposing a progressive ownership policy, where people live in a government-built home, making extra payments to buy the equity from the Crown. No deposit would be required and any equity investment would be repaid if the inhabitants moved out before they owned it.

The party also wants rental WoFs written into law to make sure rented homes meet a set of criteria including a prescribed level of insulation, water-tightness and basic amenities.

It also wants to change the law to limit rent increase to once a year and give tenants the right to renew fixed term leases when they expire.

Co-leader Metiria Turei said “The vast majority of landlords are good business operators who make sure their rentals meet these standards anyway, but too many do not. The horror stories of children growing up in rotting rentals lacking in basic services must end.”

She said the country’s existing tenancy laws were out of date and did not give protection to tenants.

“Limiting rent increases to once a year and requiring that the formula for calculating them be included in tenancy agreements will protect tenants from arbitrary and unexpected rent hikes. Allowing tenants a right of renewal on rental agreements will encourage a more long-term approach to landlord-tenant relationships and redress the power imbalance that often exists.”

Comments from our readers

On 29 January 2013 at 1:10 pm Brian Harvey said:
Before any scheme like that gets a footing the prospective owner/tenants should be screened for suitability to pay in full on time every time.Only the best of tenants with unblemished rental records with no serious outstanding debts and who treat a house like a home deserve the opportunity to own their own home. Much more work to be done again on a half baked idea. Who pays the Council rates,insurance and R and M.Not the Govt?

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