David Seymour

PHOTO: David Seymour speaks at a media stand-up on September 28. (Source: 1News)

David Seymour has announced that ACT will push to end what he calls the “war” on landlords who have been unfairly scapegoated and to roll back several tenancy law changes implemented by the Labour Government. This morning, he unveiled his party’s landlords and tenants policy, which includes measures to “protect the community from unruly tenants in Kāinga Ora housing.”

A recent 1News Verian poll indicated that National would likely need ACT’s support to form a government after the election.

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Seymour argued, “Landlords have unjustly borne the blame from Labour for the housing crisis, when the real issue is a shortage of housing supply. Labour’s policies, such as eliminating mortgage interest deductibility, extending the bright-line test, and making changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, have added costs and bureaucracy for landlords. These policies, intended to ‘protect’ tenants, have actually resulted in higher rents. Real solutions for renters involve increasing housing supply to lower rents and provide more options, rather than pitting tenants against landlords.”

He continued, “ACT will put an end to Labour’s hostile stance towards landlords, starting with the immediate reinstatement of mortgage interest deductibility from April 2024. We will also take steps to safeguard communities from disruptive tenants in state housing by simplifying the eviction process, placing such tenants at the bottom of housing waitlists, and offering homes to more deserving families.”

ACT has proposed a range of policy changes to restore power to landlords, including:

  1. Simplifying the eviction process: ACT would amend Section 55A of the Residential Tenancies Act to reduce the requirement from three written notices within 90 days to just two written notices within a year.
  2. Reversing changes to notice periods for landlords and tenants: ACT would return tenants’ notice period to 21 days and landlords’ notice period to 42 days in cases where they intend to sell or move in.
  3. Allowing landlords to charge a pet bond to encourage more pet-friendly rentals.
  4. Granting more authority to landlords to dispose of abandoned goods left at a property after two weeks, provided there has been a genuine attempt to contact the tenant.
  5. Reinstating interest deductibility for residential landlords, effective from April 2024.
  6. Abolishing the bright-line test, which ACT considers a hidden capital gains tax introduced by the National Party.

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Seymour also revealed that ACT intends to move disruptive Kāinga Ora tenants to the bottom of public housing waiting lists and implement further changes. He explained, “These tenants will not simply be relocated to another Kāinga Ora tenancy; ACT will place them at the end of both the public housing and emergency housing waitlists. This will introduce consequences for problematic behavior and provide an incentive for tenants to improve their conduct, while giving priority to individuals on the housing register who have not shown disrespect to the community.”