Auckland Action Against Poverty has today voiced support for a Plan to Fix Renting and calls on the Housing Minister to introduce new measures to control rent prices and end price-gouging by landlords.
Auckland Action Against Poverty says everyone should be able to afford a decent place to live, yet too many renters in New Zealand are facing frequent, unpredictable rent rises as landlords exploit an unregulated housing market and a shortage of state homes around the country. Ricardo Menendez March, Auckland Action Against Poverty Coordinator, says while significantly increasing the state housing stock can’t be done overnight, the government must act now to protect tenants from financial exploitation.
“In the current market landlords’ can hike rents twice per year without making any quality improvements. This creates instability and undermines renters’ ability to stay in their home” Ricardo Menendez March said.
“We call on the Housing Minister to prohibit rent increases more than once per year, and to limit increases to no more than inflation in the preceding 12 months. We also call for a prohibition of any property management fees being charged to tenants.”
Auckland Action Against Poverty endorses the Plan to Fix Renting launched by Renters United that provides 36 policy solutions to ensure renters in New Zealand enjoy their right to a warm, safe and stable home.
“These are the bare minimum steps Government should take if they are serious about tackling the housing crisis. We particularly support the proposals to ensure fair rent prices as benefit levels are simply not keeping up with rent increases in the private sector. Ultimately, the private sector will never be able to address housing affordability and the Government needs to intervene to protect tenants and build far more state homes than currently planned”
Renters United developed the Plan to Fix Renting following broad consultation with members and ally organisations, in preparation for the government review of renting laws later in 2018.
Robert Whitaker, campaign organiser for Renter’s United says New Zealand’s rental laws are broken but they can be fixed. “Half of all New Zealanders rent and they deserve warm, safe and stable homes. Yet too many renters find their homes unsafe, unaffordable and insecure and their existing rights poorly enforced,” he says.
“The Plan to Fix Renting proposes solutions to make renting affordable, stable and safe, and to ensure laws are actually enforced to protect tenants. We hope the government will implement our proposals, particularly those to improve affordability.”
The Plan can be viewed at fixrenting.org.nz and the public is being encouraged to sign on in support.