Landlords don’t make excessive profits – Tywford

Wednesday 12 September 2018

Existing tenancy law doesn’t lead to landlords making excessive profits but it doesn’t strike the right balance between landlords and tenants either, the Housing Minister says.

By Miriam Bell

That’s why the Government is pushing ahead with its proposed reforms to the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) and its suggested Healthy Homes minimum standards.

In Parliament today, Housing Minister Phil Twyford acknowledged that not only were landlords not earning massive profits from their rental properties, but that most landlords treated tenants decently.

He says steep rent rises have hurt lower income renters in some areas and some regional markets in recent years.

“But, in general, I do not believe that the RTA leads to excessive profits for landlords. I do, however, consider that the Act does not strike the right balance between landlords and tenants.

“That’s why we have announced proposals to strike a new balance between providing tenants with more secure tenure and allowing them to make their house a home while protecting the rights and interests of landlords.”

The Minister was responding to questions from ACT Party leader, David Seymour, about who would be paying for the costs involved in meeting the various proposed standards and changes required for rental properties.

Twyford says he expects landlords will deal with the costs of meeting the new standards in the same way they do currently when their rental property needs painting or the roof needs replacing.

But New Zealand’s tenancy laws are antiquated and don’t reflect the fact that renting is now a long term reality for many families, he told Parliament.

“We know that the vast majority of landlords take good care of their properties and treat their tenants fairly. Those people will see no real change from the government’s reforms.

“However, the current law is so weak that it permits a small number of exploitative people to rent out unhealthy, dangerous houses and charge exorbitant rents.”

Twyford says the government’s reforms will clean up the rental market and that will be good for the vast majority of landlords and their tenants.

“We are unapologetic that we are modernising standards for rental properties because it is long past time when 40,000 kids go to hospital every year with infectious diseases, mostly because they are living in rental properties that are cold and damp.”

The government’s proposed tenancy law reforms include limiting rental increases, removing no-cause terminations, increasing the amount of notice a landlord must give and stopping rent “bidding”.

Meanwhile, the draft Healthy Homes standards lay out options for minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, and draught stopping in residential rental properties.

Critics of the planned reforms say they could contribute to an exodus of landlords from the rental market and result in higher rents.

Consultation on both the proposed tenancy law reforms and the draft minimum standards is now underway and set to go until October 21 and October 22 respectively.

Read more:

Tenancy law reform proposals announced 

Proposed Healthy Home standards out 

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