Candidate Aaron Gilmore answers Renters United’s questions

September 14, 2022 2:40 pm


Aaron Gilmore

Motukairangi/Eastern Ward

Likely to make things worse for renters

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Renters United asked every candidate in the Motukairangi/Eastern Ward 17 questions about the issues that most concern renters in their ward. Here are Aaron’s responses in full.

Rapid fire questions

Are you a renter? No
Do you own any properties? Yes
Do you support the Renters United Healthy Homes Commitment? Yes
Do you commit to funding tenant advocacy? Yes
Do you support councils retaining ownership an expanding supply of council housing? Yes
Will you lobby for IRRS to be extended to councils? Yes
Do you commit to densifying inner city suburbs? Yes
Will you commit to using your platform to abolish the ratepayers roll? No

Stable homes

What actions would you take to improve stability and security for private renters?
I am completely supportive of longer term tenancies. The law does allow this but the default position in NZ is an annual one. It does not provide security of tenure for anyone. There will be reasons when an annual (or less) is appropriate eg a person is transferred for work for a year and wants to rent their home out. I would be supportive of the default tenancy to be set for 3 years with the rent fixed for that 3 year period and only CPI adjustments within that and then a market retest is done every 3 years not annually.

How will you ensure all council tenants have security of tenure?
As above give the default tenancy to be a 3 year period, except in exceptional circumstances. My grandparents were all state house tenants whom were subjected to constant issues of being moved. It was so sad to see.

What steps will you take to end homelessness in Wellington?
I actually think that most of this issue is more one of mental health and drug and alcohol dependency and more resourcing is needed there as well as more enforcement to stop dangerous behaviour in the CBD proper. Equally that for many they do not need to be in Wellington and a greater regional focus is needed. Supplying more homes in Wellington is a lot more expensive and harder than for example in the Wairarapa or Manawatu.

Meaningful enforcement

If elected, would you take steps to tackle persistent bad landlords who do not meet their obligations to renters in your area? If so, what?
The largest landlord in the area is the Government and they are the worst landlord! Having them follow the law is a good start! The second largest is the WCC! I would like to see some accreditation or licensing of landlords as some are great some do not give a toss.

What do you think Council should do to address power imbalance between landlords and tenants? If nothing, why?
Most landlords have access to things most tenants do not. I do think that providing tenants with the ability to negotiate better and access to advocacy is a good start. Rather than set up anything new I think that greater resourcing of the Citizen Advice Bureau model is a good place to start. Ten years ago I proposed such a model when I worked in Social Housing!!!

Fair rent

Would you advocate for additional powers or resources from Central Government to address the housing crisis (such as legislating for Rent Control), if so what and how?
Rent control does not work. Anyway as above the two biggest landlords are Public agencies in this city! I would be fine with multi 3 year tenancies with fixed rent plus CPI for each tenancy. If not I am completely fine with only a single annual rent adjustment each year. This is what commercial tenancies allow it is weird that residential tenants do not have the same.

What do you think are the main reasons rents in Wellington are increasing? How would you ensure rents in Wellington are affordable?
Lack of Supply! We need to build more! Zone more land to allow this. Make gaining consents WAY easier. as an example It took me 6 months to get a response from Wellington Water over who owned a pipe so that I could look at a development on a site. Another example a building our family owns is yellow stickered and needs to be replaced. But due to one Councillor changing the spatial plan rules at the last minute means that this is not going to happen for years!

Safe and healthy homes

What actions (in contrast to or in conjunction with our Healthy Homes Commitment) would you take to improve the quality of private rental housing in your ward and in your city?
Again I do think a public accreditation scheme has merits. Similar to a star rating for hotels! If you want amazing, fine but it costs more. If you are ok with less fine and its cheaper.

Anything else you want to share?

I want to see more mass market build to rent high rises in Wellington especially along Kent-Cambridge Tce through to the Basin where the infrastructure is in place and natural hazards are low. This could be done in a big Public-Private partnership where by the Council and Crown goes to tender seeking for example 2,000 new apartments to be built in that area and acts as the facilitator to aggregate development, with the apartments to be then half public half private. If we wait for one off adhoc developments it will take decades.

Aaron Gilmore

Motukairangi/Eastern Ward

Likely to make things worse for renters

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