Everyone should be able to afford a decent place to live. Renters should not face frequent, unpredictable rent rises that compromise our ability to realise our right to a home. Instead, renters should know that our rent has been set fairly and that it isn’t the result of landlords exploiting supply shortages or other factors.
Our plan to fix affordability
- Restrict rent increases to a maximum of one single annual adjustment.
- Limit rent increases to no more than inflation, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the preceding 12 months.
- Allow reasonable and proportionate rent increases above CPI where significant improvements have been made to the quality or facilities of the home – beyond ordinary maintenance. Such improvements would not include those made in order for the property to comply with minimum standards.
- Prevent unreasonable rent hikes between tenancies by requiring the landlord to set rent within a reasonable range of the previous rent charged for that property (except where significant improvements beyond normal maintenance have been made) and inform incoming tenants in writing of the rent paid by the previous tenants.
- Require that rents are set within a reasonable range of the median rent of comparable rented houses in the same area.
- Outlaw formal and informal rent bidding by requiring landlords to advertise a specific rent for every vacancy and to set rent no higher than the amount advertised.
- Abolish letting fees and all other fees charged to tenants by landlords or their agents.
A note on supply:
Renters United recognises that significant interventions in the housing market are also required to address broader supply issues. We call for the creation of a National Housing Strategy that includes:
- taxes on property speculation
- significant new public housing (provided by central, local and non-government agencies) that focuses first on areas of shortage in the private rental sector such as accessible housing
- incentives for non-government entities to provide affordable rental accommodation
- initiatives to support affordable home ownership (shared equity, rent-to-buy, and cooperative housing schemes)
- empowering Councils to tackle land- banking, empty investment properties and short-stay rentals that take stock out of the rental sector.
This strategy should be monitored by a Commissioner for Housing.
The latest on fair rent
- Renters and Covid-19On the 25 March Renters United made the following media statement on what is required of Government to support renters during the Covid-19 outbreak. Renters need certainty and rent relief during the Covid-19 lockdown Yesterday the Prime Minister assured homeowners that “no-one would lose their home” due to Covid-19. The one third of New Zealanders … Read more
- A first-class renting life is worth the fight: Rachael’s storyBy Rachael Soster-Smith Since I left my Dunedin hall of residence in 1999, I’ve done what many renters do – moved almost annually. I count thirteen homes in fourteen years, and a great deal of effort and expense. I’ve paid good money for the privilege of dwelling in dingy, mouldy, pest-infested, under-heated dumps and progressed … Read more
- Renting and inequalityby Max Rashbrooke Out of control housing costs is one of the things (though far from the only thing) that is increasing the gap between rich and poor in New Zealand. Once you take housing costs into account, the average person in the poorest 10th of the country actually has less money to spend than … Read more