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September 25, 2017 | by  | in News |
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Policy to Improve Renting Conditions

The Green Party’s proposed Residential Tenancies (Safe and Secure Rentals) Amendment Bill seeks to “make life better for the thousands of New Zealanders who rent their homes” through changes to housing quality, tenancy advocacy, and rent security.

The Greens’ ten point policy outlines a dismal situation for renters, stressing three key problems: poor quality rental houses, lack of tenancy security, and an unbalanced relationship between landlords and tenants.

“Having a decent house to live in is not much to ask for, in fact it is a human right. Yet our rental laws in New Zealand are causing people to get sick all over the country because houses are cold, mouldy, and frankly just crap,” said VUWSA President Rory Lenihan-Ikin.

“We’ve been pushing for a mandatory rental WOF and an overhaul to tenancy regulation through the Student Friendly Wellington campaign, but there is only so much that can be done by local government. […] We really need cross-party support for decent rental standards, particularly as home ownership is now not an option for most young people.”

At a community rally on poverty held in Porirua on September 19, the Greens’ Spokesperson for Social Development, Jan Logie, said “Rental properties should not just be treated as an investment opportunity for landlords.”

“They are your homes, and your home should be a home for life.”  

The Bill would end letting fees, restrict rent increases to one per year, and introduce a landlord’s bond. The introduction of this new bond, Logie explained, “would actually allow you to maintain your home,” because necessary maintenance organised by the tenant could be refunded through the bond.

The Bill also includes the introduction of a housing warrant of fitness, and FlatMates, a tenancy advocacy office accessible to all renting tenants. In addition to providing help and support to tenants, FlatMates would also contribute to funding public advocacy campaigns to make renters aware of their rights, and landlords of their responsibilities.

The Green Party announcement follows an ongoing conversation this election surrounding housing standards and renting rights.

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