PHOTO: (Source: 1News)
A significant portion of the nation’s youngest voters, approximately 47%, strongly favor the implementation of rent limits, according to the Vote Compass online tool. Another 31% somewhat support this policy. This contrasts with the opinions of older age groups, with 40% of those aged 30-39 strongly agreeing with rent limits, as well as 37% of voters aged 40-49, and just under a third of people in both the 50-64 and 65+ age brackets.
In 2020, a change was made in landlord-tenant regulations, allowing landlords to increase rent only once a year, except under special circumstances. However, there are no restrictions on the magnitude of these rent increases. Tenants do have the option to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a rent reduction order if they can provide evidence that their rent exceeds the market rate for similar properties in the area.
Jessica Ye, a student renter and the president of the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association, highlighted the burden of rising rent costs on young people. She emphasized that some students are struggling to cover their living expenses with the maximum weekly student loan of $302, leading them to work longer hours to meet rent obligations. This situation has forced some students to make difficult choices, including sacrificing their education or dropping out due to financial constraints.
Ye advocated for rental controls as a means of providing stability and security for tenants, preventing them from constantly moving and dealing with precarious living situations. She expressed support for the Green Party’s rent policy, which includes rent increase limits, a rental warrant of fitness, and a comprehensive register of landlords and property managers.
Various political parties have proposed different policies related to rental housing. The National and ACT parties have announced plans to restore tax deductibility for landlords’ mortgage interest and ease eviction processes. The Labour and Te Pāti Māori parties have not yet disclosed specific rent-related policies.
Eimhin O’Shea, the national organizer for Renters United, emphasized the need for more stringent regulations on rental price increases, particularly during the transition between tenancies. He acknowledged that while building more housing is a long-term solution, immediate action is required to protect renters from rent hikes that impact their ability to afford essential necessities.
Vote Compass is a useful tool for voters to align their views with political parties’ policies by responding to statements on various issues, such as health, education, the environment, and taxation. The tool analyzes these responses and provides insights into the alignment of one’s views with different political parties.
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