Candidate Celeste Donavan answers Renters United’s questions

September 17, 2022 3:07 pm


Celeste Donovan

Coastal Ward

Likely to make things better for renters

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Renters United asked every candidate in the Coastal Ward 17 questions about the issues that most concern renters in their ward. Here are Celeste Donavan’s responses in full.

Rapid fire questions

Are you a renter? Yes
Do you own any properties? No
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?

People who rent should enjoy security, stability and be protected from unreasonable rent increases. I believe flat inspections should be limited to once every 6 months; we need to improve security of tenancy by making it harder for landlords to end tenancies without good cause; and we need to ensure there are proper enforcement mechanisms to proactively address and identify non-compliance and funding for local tenancy services.

How will you ensure all council tenants have security of tenure?

We need to improve security of tenancy by making it harder for landlords to end tenancies without good cause; advocate for legal recognition of a rental property as a home; limit fixed term tenancies; abolish no cause evictions.

What steps will you take to end homelessness in Christchurch?

Support closer collaboration between Council, Central government, and community organisations to ensure there is enough specialist housing for people with health, mental health, or addiction issues.

Advocate for council to receive the income-related rent subsidy (IRRS).

Advocate for Council to retain ownership and to invest further into social housing.

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?

Support the funding of a housing compliance investigations officer to ensure rentals meet an acceptable Healthy Homes standard.

Support further investigation of council by-laws and resources that could be used to ensure proper regulation of property managers and landlords.

Advocate for Central Government to address deficiencies within the current legislation and practices.

Support funding a register of all rental properties to track compliance with quality standards and to provide a trusted source of information for tenants

What do you think Council should do to address power imbalance between landlords and tenants? If nothing, why?

Commit to funding local tenants’ advocacy services. I was disappointed to see the closure of the Tenants Protection Association this year, due to the inability to secure sustainable funding.

Support the licensing and regulation of all property managers.

Advocate for more sanctions and enforcement mechanisms for landlords and property managers who breach the law.

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?

Yes. There needs to be better regulation of the sector by Central Government.
Advocate legislation to ensure that rent increases are set fairly and limited to inflation or significant improvements (beyond ordinary maintenance or those intended to make the property compliant with minimum standards).

Limit rent increases to a range of the median rent of comparable rented houses in the same area and to once a year.

Advocate for enforcement mechanisms to ensure landlords comply with legislation restricting unlawful rent increases.

What do you think are the main reasons rents in Christchurch are increasing? How would you ensure rents in Christchurch are affordable?

There are several factors leading to an increase in rental costs, including a shortage of supply and an inflated housing market, as well as a lack of regulation around rental controls

Advocate for Central government to develop and implement a clear housing strategy to address the current housing crisis, which disproportionately impacts renters and those on lower incomes.

Advocate for Council to prioritise housing affordability initiatives, as part of its obligation to “promote the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of communities in the present and for the future”

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?

Advocate for the introduction of a Rental Housing Warrant of Fitness (WOF).

Anything else you want to share?

Encourage ChristchurchNZ, as part of its expanded role in economic development function, to utilise public land to support development that can support people through the housing continuum. For instance, one example of this council-developer partnership with a focus on high quality affordable homes, is the Te Pākau Maru development in New Brighton.

Support implementation of the MDRS and NPS-UD with a focus on providing high quality housing and affordable housing with a focus on walkable and liveable neighbourhoods.
Investigate waiving of development contributions for high quality affordable housing projects.

Support enabling papakāinga provisions for development on whenua Māori, as well as provisions for cohousing and other collective models on general title land.

Support work to enable alternative housing providers, including community housing, papakāinga housing, co-housing, and alternative tenure models such as community land trusts, rent to own and shared equity schemes.

Ensure that the provision of Christchurch Social Housing reflects a wider mix of housing types and for a broader range of people on the housing continuum, including younger people, our aging population and single older women.

Ensure that the provision of social houses prioritises the wellbeing of our communities and people over other factors such as economic returns.

Celeste Donovan

Coastal Ward

Likely to make things better for renters

Compare Celeste with other candidates

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