Renters Rights


This is a story that is really a property managers wet dream wishful thinking wrapped up as news, Auckland rent increases unavoidable – expert but it reveals something that is distinctly nasty.

Barfoot and Thompson director Kiri Barfoot said they regularly reviewed rent prices.

They were in the business of pushing up rental prices for the landlords, Ms Barfoot said.

“Maybe we’re more proactive than someone who looks after [properties] themselves and just wants to get tenants in and doesn’t realise they can [increase rents].”

She said the 4.6 per cent increase in rent in the Auckland area was “modest”.

So Barfoot and Thompson are constantly hounding their clients and playing to their greed to artificially ramp up rent prices? The Free Market at it’s most pathologically ruthless.

How Charming.

We seem to have a system that only benefits those renting the property out. The ability to constantly push up rents due to desperation only entrenches the poverty of those locked into renting get caught on.

Our communities need diversity. State Housing and housing affordability for the poor needs to be seen as a civic obligation, not a slum lord pay day.

Families who can put down roots into their communities is essential for those communities to thrive, if the entire structure of the free market rental environment is built for property speculators, is it any wonder inequality is such a wound on our GDP?

A Landlord can just give you 42 days written notice to evict you if a family member wants the rental, a loophole large enough to be able to drive a truck through.

Long term low rent accommodation is the solution, allowing the corporate greed monsters of Barfoot and Thompson to just graze on the fields of inequality while those with little get pushed to the fringes is not a solution.

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The Government’s changes to the RMA are to just allow their developer mates to go crazy with urban sprawl. Because it’s the subdividing middle classes who have to deal with the RMA most, it’s their sense of grievance that drives the animosity to it. Those communities impacted by the moves have too little a voice in the media to counter this narrative.

The outcry to the zero tolerance speed ticket campaign is a case in point when regulation dares to tell the middle classes what the parameters are.

Renters are marginalised enough as it is, their rights need enshrining by a Political movement. The problem is that those very same subdividing middle classes get the only illusion of wealth from their over inflated property valuations and any attempt to give renters more rights would be met with a Kim Dotcom media feeding frenzy kind of response.


  1. “Long term low rent accommodation is the solution”. And just imagine if the private land lord was not in the market. Where would people live? How long do you think it would take the government to replace all those house rented out by private land lords? You would have people living on the streets for years. I am not saying rents should be rip offs, but rents should be at market rates. Perhaps the government could provide an accommodation supplement benefit to those in need. Opps I forgot, they already do.

    • Right and that accommodation supplement is effectively a subsidy directly to the landlord. Further evidence of how renters are screwed over.

      • Hi Maryn,

        Yes the Government using accommodation supplement is bumping up rental prices, but only where rentals are scarce.

        Auckland & Christchurch are the most notable, but if you have are a landlord with property rentals in most other regions the rental market has been stagnant for at least 5yrs now as Real-estate brokers are not advising landlords to ramp up rent in those regions.

        For instance a 2 bedroom flat in a tidy area can be found in HB Gisborne East Coast regions at about $220-250 a week and this has ben same for five years now.

        We actually have a two tier economy here, and in our family’s case several members own rental property in those regions that have plenty of rental properties and the market is stagnant and quite fluid, even when long term tenancies are offered the contact is often broken early by the tenant our family and others have found.

        So when we see the cost of rent in Auckland/Christchurch ares we are stunned like a mullet.

    • Lets be totally accurate and call the accommodation supplement what it really is; a social welfare cheque paid to landlords, pure and simple, bludging lazy investors who get their capital gains tax free, who get to write off their “expenses” with their investment houses and end up paying no tax, sucking on the public tit again and again. Is there no end to these parasites?

      • I have never read so much nonsense. “Bludging lazy investors” If we were lazy we would put our money in the bank. “Write off expenses”, yes just like a business funnily enough, but houses cant be depreciated anymore. Pay tax, oh yes we do.Sucking off the public tit – you mean providing accommodation that the government chooses not to, subsidising it with our own income, owning it for 15 or 20 years in the hope that this form of compulsory saving keeps our investment at about the rate of inflation for the period, (after bearing the risk of earthquakes, bad tenants and debt), all in the hope that when we retire we have enough money not to need to suck on the public tit.

        • Gold Strike! Gold Strike! Land bought in 1995 for $890,000 – owner will sell for $112m!

          There is gold in the hills of Auckland! Strike it while you can. Buy your plot. Strike it rich!

          The gold seam runs from the metropolitan urban limit to the CBD.

          The really adventurous prospector can really strike it lucky by buying outside the urban limit, near favourable lines of fresh water, storm water and sewerage. Then wait for the map to be changed by their friendly Council or those Housing Accord guys.

          Gold fever, what could go wrong?

      • And, don`t forget that the tenant has to pay the real estate agent`s fee, which is usually one weeks rent. It would be understandable if the agent is working for the tenant but they are working for the landlord. I don`t understand why a tenant has to pay for a service to benefit the landlord. Especially when alot of agents have no integrity (in my experience) towards the tenant.

        • OMG! This! I hate those fees. They’re supposed to be negotiable, but they almost always aren’t.

          As a renter I don’t like dealing with RE agents because of these fees. I try to avoid them like the plague. Its not always possible though.

          Its not my choice to go through a RE. So why should I pay their fee?

          Even when there were properties sitting vacant for literally months in my area, when I tried to negotiate the fee the answer was a resounding no. The property remained vacant for a further few weeks in that case. Which tells me that either the RE didn’t pass my suggestion onto the landlord, or the landlord was so mean and stupid as to pass up a tenant with excellent references because they wouldn’t pay the one week fee. It made no sense for them financially to do what they did, so it must have been for another ideological reason.

    • If the private landlord weren’t in the market, well there would be a hell of a lot more houses for people to buy, rather than the greedy, stock piling themselves more “investments”! And of course there would be far fewer buyers collapsing speculator demand because the speculators are landlords. Maybe then a lot of these renters wouldn’t have to rent, they could buy, Christ what a terrible thought that must be!

      And where would NZ be without taxpayers subsidising rents. NZ’s economic model currently relies hugely upon paying people crap money for the work they do (heard of the working poor much less poverty), so bad in fact that they couldn’t afford to pay rent and couldn’t afford to live in Auckland at least and without their labour the economy would seize up. So the generous government intervenes in the “free market” because its flawed, and pays voters like you freebies to be the dear landlord for the riff raff.

      This shonkey system is badly skewed and needs to change!

    • Private landlords are only providing accommodation if they actually create new property in order to rent it out.

      If they purchase existing property from NZ stock, they’re changing ownership.

      Most private landlords don’t actually create anything.

      Its a common argument you’ve made, but its not accurate.

  2. I also see that Auckland Council (AC) pensioner housing tenants are in for healthy rent rises ,and it’s AC who is going to get one back on National this time and send these unlucky people who have little means as it is to the very unfriendly people at WINZ to get an accommodation top up.

    Auckland property market is so fucked up by greed it defies words.

    Excellent point about putting roots down. In todays “Brighter Future” families have become almost nomads, moving from one place to the next often in any suburb they can find not knowing how long this next roof over their heads will last, never connecting with the surrounding area, kids in and out of schools never to form lasting friendships. This uncertainty that this governments voters can’t put a dollar value on has hidden social consequences that are not pretty.

    It’s a harsh world in the Brighter Future and getting harsher.

    • It is not compulsory to live in Auckland, and do not go on about that is where the work is and so on, if you choose to live in Auckland, then you will pay more.

  3. When pay to rent a car I know my money is spent on a vehicle that is well maintained and checked regularly. When I pay to rent commercial property my money buys me significant legal protection. When I pay to rent residential property my money gets me treated as a second-class citizen.

    Renters could have significant political clout. We make up about 40% of households and that proportion is increasing. There are more lessee voters than lessor voters.

    • It is clearly something that needs to be campagian on at the next election.

      Rented houses that aren’t even worth being rented because they are so disgracefull.

      That building wof definitely needs to be inforced sooner rather than later.

  4. Any tenant of residential property can at any time be given 90 days notice for no reason at all.

    This means that residential tenants have zero security of tenure.

    Even if one has a fixed term lease that lease will eventually come to an end. And another must be negotiated with the landlord.

    I always experience a feeling of stress as the fixed term end draws near. Will my family have security or will we have to find another property to rent? What if there’s nothing available in my area?

    So many homes in my small town are being sold as holiday homes, to remain vacant for most of the year. The number of rental properties available long term is very few. The population is increasing. Its really stressful actually, and with a school age child I only hope we can stay where we are until my child has finished high school.

    Renting for life MUST become a more attractive possibility with ridiculous property prices persisting.

    It would be fantastic of the government repeated what they did back in the 1960’s. Build a bunch of state houses, employ a bunch of people to do it, increase the housing stock which is actually lived in all year round, provide affordable housing to those on lower incomes and provide affordable rentals for all.

    • How about: Build a bunch of state houses, employ a bunch of people to do it, increase the housing stock which is actually lived in all year round, provide affordable housing to those on lower incomes and provide affordable houses to buy for all, using what used to be the family benefit or similar, thus getting families out of the rent merry go round, give the family some stability and ultimately some equity – opps no -there will be leftie twat who doesnt like that idea either…

    • I was in that boat in November, looking for a rental over Christmas and the New Year was so stressful, coupled with properties misrepresented by agents. Long term isn`t long term, it doesn`t matter to agents as long as they get paid, there is no thought of the tenant or children involved and the cost and upheaval of moving, even if you`re a perfect tenant. I would love to live in a house where I know I will be there long enough to eat the vegetables I grow, I`m at the stage where it will only be in pots. I guess it`s the same for kids.. they can`t put down permanent roots either.

  5. According to the landlord class, we renters are all vandalising, wall-kicking, furniture-burners, to a man, woman, and child.

  6. The neo-lib argument about home ownership (“In Europe, NY, people more people rent rather than buy housing, we should look at this” – repeated only this week on Nat Rad’s Nine to Noon) is always screwed by the realities of renting in NZ.

    Our last rental ended when – after discovering dry rot – the owner decided to ‘move in’ so we had 42 days to move our young family into my husband’s parents’ home. While visiting our old neighbour’s 2 weeks later we saw the for-sale sign of the real estate agent, who we’d rented through, on our old front lawn. Luckily the parents’ inherited some money and were able to lend us enough to put down a 5% deposit on a very modest house so we got out of renting.

    Real estate agents apear to be rooking both renters and owners to be honest and really the government need to remember they ARE actually there to GOVEN and put in some decent legislation to make renting fair to both parties involved (and control the middlemen).

  7. It is a disgrace what is going on in this country, especially in places like Christchurch and Auckland, where rents have increased substantially. But rents have still not increased as much as property prices, which shows that there is more speculation going on with property for capital gains down the line.

    A fair few landlords only use tenants to finance their debt, i.e. to pay off loans and mortgages on their investments, and as the numbers of renters, those that cannot afford property themselves, is ever growing, they have no shortage of people they can use to do this. Even the accommodation supplement comes in as a handy subsidy, and there are many poor, and especially those on benefits, who may over half, or over 60 percent of their total income on rent alone. So they are just pawns in the game of developing property portfolios for the upper middle class.

    We have had Housing NZ actually reduce total stock of homes they administer, see this article by Simon Collins:

    We get these advert like home presentations by Housing NZ now and then, very newsworthy, from the MSM and government media experts point of view, where they show off the odd newly built home, but in reality, they are not keeping up with replacing stock they have sold, and where they try to buy now, they face increasing costs also.

    So the future will be the new ghettos, multi-level, cheap state homes for singles and smaller families, where neighbours may get on each others’ nerves, due to living close up to each other, due to noise and other matters.

    Even what they have done in Glen Innes is rather shocking, where they just repainted homes, and added some new boxes stacked next to each other and on top of each other, mostly low value, and not built to last.

    And the number of homeless rough sleepers has doubled:

    The government, and even Auckland Council want to leave it to the market to sort this out, yes, we heard all this before. I know what goes on in the Auckland Unitary Plan hearings, they are dominated by big business, utility companies, and by developers and so forth. They are preparing for the great monopoly game ahead of us, and Council seems only too prepared to make concessions.

    Now the Nats have thrown a real spanner into the works, with the RMA plans for changes of the principles and law. It is getting very messy now, but listening and following to the MSM, action is needed, no matter what it seems. The forces at the monopoly table will win, unless people bloody start waking up and take action now.

    Few will win out of all this, the ones that will be walked all over again will be the poor tenants, struggling to pay the basics, with empty fridges as the rent has priority, or with alternative overcrowding, as that is the only way to cope.

    And then they wand to cut beneficiary number by 25 percent, oh it will get bloody ugly, damned ugly.

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