PHOTO: One News New Zealand
A plan to improve renting conditions in New Zealand from Wellington-based Renters United has been welcomed by other advocacy groups. Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association, Manawatu Tenants Union and Child Poverty Action Group are among those who have spoken out in support of the plan.
The organisations say change is urgently needed, with the current situation leading to sickness from damp and mouldy homes, laws that do little to protect tenant rights, a lack of stability and unaffordable rent hikes.
Renters United’s plan is based around security for renters, limiting rent rises and improving the quality of properties. It also calls for regulation of the industry and harsher penalties for law-breaking landlords and property managers. “We do feel like visitors in our communities sometimes because we don’t have that security and that does make us feel like second class citizens,” said Renters United’s Robert Whitaker. Mr Whitaker said all of the policies relate, noting that a tenant that feels insecure in their rental is less likely to raise issues with their landlord around the quality of the rental. “That’s why we feel like we needed to set everything out and say this is a plan, this is how we can go about fixing all of this mess,” he said. Not all the policies are of the same urgency for implementation, he said, such as the policy to allow renters to keep pets.