The public is being asked for feedback on a set of potential amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act, which the Government claims will make life better for renters. The discussion document fails to consider the biggest driver of the country’s renting crisis, which are rampant rent prices. While Auckland Action Against Poverty welcomes the Government’s attempts to increase the security of tenure, it calls for the discussion document to include controls on rent prices, not just rent increases.
“The most important factor that needs addressing is current rent prices, which are already out of reach for most low-income New Zealanders. Limiting rent increases to once a year, without setting guidelines on the rent increase amounts and rent prices, will continue giving disproportionate amount of power to landlords seeking to make a profit instead of providing a home”, said Ricardo Menendez March, Auckland Action Against Poverty Coordinator
“The calls to introduce regulations to control rent prices have been growing, with the Renter’s United Plan to Fix Renting calling on rent increases to be no more than inflation, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the preceding 12 months, as well as require that rents are set within a reasonable range of the median rent of comparable rented houses in the same area.
“Stats NZ’s report last month showed that low income families, particularly beneficiaries, were the most disproportionately hit by increasing rent prices. For beneficiaries, rent makes up 30% of household expenditures. For some in private rentals, this amount can go up all the way to 70%. With benefit levels stagnant, and wages increasing at a slow pace, rent prices need to be urgently regulated in order to protect low-income families from being pushed into homelessness and debt.
“The Government needs to fundamentally stop seeing homes as though they are investments, and rather a basic human right. Phil Twyford demonstrates he’s siding with the privileged few, rather than the many, by insisting that the interests of landlords need protecting as part of the Government’s review on renter’s rights.
“Auckland Action Against Poverty urges the Government to include rent price controls as part of the review of the Residential Tenancy Act, and encourages the public to discuss current rent prices as part of the review.”