Candidate Bob Mason answers Renters United’s questions

September 14, 2022 3:17 pm


Bob Mason

Wharangi/Onslow-Western General Ward


Likely to make little difference for renters

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Renters United asked every candidate in the Wharangi/Onslow-Western Ward 17 questions about the issues that most concern renters in their ward. Here are Bob Mason’s¬†responses in full.

Rapid fire questions

Are you a renter? Yes
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? Yes

Stable homes

What actions would you take to improve stability and security for private renters?
I would seek to accredit and evaluate landlords who are prepared to offer longer tenure, so that willing renters can use this information if they too are keen to commit to a longer tenure

How will you ensure all council tenants have security of tenure?
The key problem here is insufficient social housing, meaning that hard-pressed councils are too eager to move people on if their situation changes and they can be fitted into a smaller house. With a better supply of council housing, there is less pressure to chop and change up tenure, and so gradually tenants would regain dignity by staying in the same house rather than endless transience which has flow on effects on social and wellbeing issues

What steps will you take to end homelessness in Wellington?
Devise a plan to look at establishing more safe places which offer medium-term respite from being on the streets, while a more stable solution can be found

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?
Yes. I actually think that bad landlords are the exception rather than the rule, but that each bad landlord has a disproportionate effect on renters’ experiences, because they tend to churn through quite a few unfortunate renters. I would have a positive accreditation system for good landlords, as well as an online review system similar to TripAdvisor which would provide the details, both positive and negative for any landlord, offering a large incentive to do a decent job. It is a business like every other after all.

What do you think Council should do to address power imbalance between landlords and tenants? If nothing, why?
The Tenancy Tribunal should be better resourced so as to process disputes quickly, effectively and consistently. Delays to the process only hurt the generally more cash poor renter more.

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?
I think rent controls can be too blunt. I would rather focus on a rapid increase in the supply and quality of rentals, by rezoning and repurposing existing commercial property

What do you think are the main reasons rents in Wellington are increasing? How would you ensure rents in Wellington are affordable?
There simply aren’t enough rentals full stop, and for smaller rental properties the situation is acute. Supply increase is crucial. Meanwhile, there are commercial spaces that are unable to be residential, and struggling to be viable as commercial property owing to the pandemic changes in working habits. Rather than let this commercial property languish without purpose, I would look to allow owners to redevelop as residential opportunities, which would be quicker and more effective than building everything from scratch.

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?
I support the policy of a rental WOF to ensure a minimum standard of rental quality across the city.

Anything else you want to share?

At a national Level, I support TOP’s land value tax, because it would only apply to those who own land / property, and land is the scarcest resource. Renters would see the biggest fall in their tax burden as a result

Bob Mason

Wharangi/Onslow-Western General Ward


Likely to make little difference for renters

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Authorised by Geordie Rogers,

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