Candidate Luana Scowcroft answers Renters United’s questions

September 14, 2022 2:47 pm


Luana Scowcroft

Motukairangi/Eastern Ward

Likely to make things better 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 Luana’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? Yes

Stable homes

What actions would you take to improve stability and security for private renters?
Not all landlords are in terrible, but a lot of for-profit property managers are.
I’ll advocate strongly to our friends in central government to further regulate the property manager market. This would include anyone in charge of renting to tenants.
I also would like to see the narrative shift away from renting as a commercial transaction towards acknowledgement that this is their home. With that would come change on how to adapt to suit the changing needs of renters (like new babies, flatmates, pets etc).

How will you ensure all council tenants have security of tenure?
Long leases to enable tenants to put down roots, contribute to their communities and feel a sense of belonging. Similar to influencing rents by flooding the market, we can make long, safe tenures the norm that are demanded of landlords and property managers.

What steps will you take to end homelessness in Wellington?
Work with communities and groups who are actively working in this space and help to open a women’s emergency shelter in Wellington city.

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?

Strengthen and use the existing powers that council has to ensure landlords meet healthy homes standards as inspected by Sustainability Trust.
Alongside a strong tenancy tribunal model, advocate for this tribunal to hold the powers to fine and disqualify landlords who persistently break the law.

What do you think Council should do to address power imbalance between landlords and tenants? If nothing, why?
Fund tenancy support services to get free, impartial advice. This service will also allow for tenants to raise complaints about their homes, landlords and get support to work through the system to address these.

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 absolutely. Utilising strong networks across all levels of Govt is imperative to solving the problems our renters face. Putting renters at the center of the discussion rather than passing the buck to central government is key.
The first thing I’d like to see is the income related rent subsidies for all council tenants. This arbitrary line in the sand is making life really difficult for our people.

What do you think are the main reasons rents in Wellington are increasing? How would you ensure rents in Wellington are affordable?
We know that one of the most effective ways to combat rising rents is by introducing more council and community owned housing. That way private, for-profit landlords and agencies will need to compete with fair rentals to get people into their properties. I’m a big advocate for building significantly more council houses, and fast. We also need to sort existing council housing stock.
Right now many people living in council owned properties are dealing with subpar homes and paying increasing amounts. I would advocate for completing the upgrade programme and ensure rent equity for our tenants by guaranteeing income-related rents for all.

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?
Strengthen and improve the process between council and sustainability trust to allow tenants to access this service directly (rather than through a landlord).
If the house is found in breach of this and interventions are not successful, council should issue a fine to the landlord or property manager.
I would advocate for a pilot of the programme to see if it goes far enough and look at how we can further use Council powers under the Health Act.

Anything else you want to share?

I want to enable Mana Whenua and other communities to lead the way in housing their people in a way that is culturally appropriate, affordable, safe and includes intergenerational planning.

Luana Scowcroft

Motukairangi/Eastern Ward

Likely to make things better for renters

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