Landlords attitudes reflect the failings of successive governments to protect housing as a human right – AAAP

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Landlords threatening to evict tenants on the coldest day of the year in response to the government’s recent housing announcement is typical in a country that treats housing as a business investment.

The attitudes that some landlords have, of threatening to evict people speaks to the belief that because they have such power that they can use it in such a way to treat people like this. Housing isn’t a game, or a business, it’s a universal human right.

 

“Successive National and Labour governments are both responsible for the housing crisis due to a lack of regulation, taxes and policies that actually should protect housing as a human right” says coordinator with Auckland Action Against Poverty Brooke Pao Stanley. Under investment in public housing means that we now find ourselves in a position where landlords have too much power and are willing to vet it out on renters, many of whom are already in vulnerable positions. When you create conditions for landlords to have such power, of course you’re going to have some of them acting like spoiled privileged brats.

 

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It’s hard enough as it is for people and whānau across New Zealand as we have a public housing waitlist of over 20,000 households and some of the highest rents in the world. Even people who are working, some families with multiple jobs are struggling to pay rent. We have so many whānau in emergency and transitional housing and we have a whole generation of children being raised in emergency and transitional housing. This is unacceptable in a country that prides itself on being some kind of egalitarian safe haven. We’ve got some deeply entrenched attitudes and problems here and if not addressed will only get worse.

 

We’ve been calling for greater investment in universal public housing, in papakainga solutions, in devolving resources to iwi. If we invest in housing as a human right then it also helps regulate investors, as they wouldn’t see it as a way of making money and that’s what we need in this country. Landlords shouldn’t have the power to use housing as a way of getting back at the government, as it’s the people who will be most affected.

6 COMMENTS

  1. The cowardice of these people is expected, it’s part of NZ (well, a certain mainstream portion of pakeha) culture, but somehow the scale always manages to catch me off guard. I honestly don’t know how all those people in government, all those people who went to university, all those people who are presumeably their intelligent collegues, all our journalists, can hear such crappage and not say directly to them, sit down, shut up, you’re done here. What they are advocating is domestic terorrism, with the twist that they don’t want it to end in their favour. That’s the curious bit, possibly part of the cowardice. The noise sounds like a bully with a bad case of narcisstic rage, but who wants out of the terror of being a bully. And as you say, all this time the powerful people surrounding them have been kidding themselves for years…”oh well that’s just them, they’re ambitious… that’s just them joking around…” they weren’t joking, ever. I can’t decide which would be better: an all out physical war on neoliberalism, or an intelligent peaceful solution. May not be such a bad thing we won’t get to choose.

  2. I am sorry but people have a right to expect the state to provide a place called home
    Private landlords are running a business and they have a right to make a profit . They are not a charity or an arm of social welfare. The best way to control the private landlord is for the state to compete in price and availability. This would soon drive them out of the lower end of the market and onto the better quality homes.
    National and Labour have both dropped the ball in this area over many years. Helena Clarke said she did more to reverse the health effects of poverty as housing minister than she did as health minister.

    • Nobody’s asking private landlords to “run a business” owning rental properties. That is their choice. They are doing that of their own volition and they do not have “a right to make a profit “.
      Nobody has “a right” to make a profit. If market conditions change for any business, and people end up taking a loss, then that’s tough luck. Everyone in business has to constantly monitor and read situations and then either adapt or die.
      Those who choose to call owning rental properties, “running a business,” have to man up and expect market conditions to change. Part of that will most likely be a 30 – 50% drop in the value of their investment over the next 3 years. All the indicators point that way. We have had a 12 year long stratospheric bull market run on residential property in an economy where wages have hardly moved. Unheard of and unsustainable.
      If the heats too hot in the kitchen, get out of the kitchen.

      • I agree with you perhaps I worded it wrong but so many lately are criticizing landlords for making a profit but as with any gamble a landlord can lose money due to a change in the market such as has just occurred.I wonder if the same people that criticized landlords for making a profit will feel sorry for those that make a lose

    • The government can blow them out of the water if it wants to. But they’ll complain and cry…which actually happened once during the1920″s

  3. I’m with Trevor. The Government still fails to embrace the rôle it must assume as the nation’s premier landlord. We need 100,000 new-build state-owned houses, available for lifetime income-related rent by all who want them. We need them built densely, close to city centres and commuter railway lines, giving their occupants quick, easy, environmentally safe access to the places of their work and play. Only as these 100,000 houses are built, with the Government as landlord, will private landlords be forced to lift their game, private rents become affordable, and private house prices accessible for those who want to buy.

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