OPINION: New rental rights and responsibilities are fair

SHARE

Every New Zealander should have a warm, dry, safe place to call home.

That’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s commitment to New Zealand, and it’s one I’m proud to support.

Here in South Canterbury we have a total of about 3400 houses rented out.

Even if you’re not a renter yourself, I expect you will know people who are renting, whether it is a colleague, your children or your grandchildren.

For the most part, rental properties are well looked after and most renters have a good relationship with their landlord, even if there are some problem tenants and some poorly-maintained homes.

No-one actually wants to waste their leisure time litigating their home life through the Tenancy Tribunal.

Both landlords and renters I talk to agree that strong and stable tenancies are better for everyone.

That’s why, just last week, the Government announced that we’re modernising the rules on rental properties.

We’re helping renters stay in the same home long-term by getting rid of no-cause lease terminations.

Just like employers need a reason to get rid of a worker, landlords should need a reason to get rid of a tenant.

Of course, if a tenant is consistently late with their rent, abusing the property, or acting in illegal or anti-social ways, landlords still have the right to evict them.

But good renters who treat their house with respect and pay their rent on time should have confidence they can settle in and play a full part in their local community.

To help a tenant make a rental property their home, we’re updating the rules to allow them to make minor changes, such as securing furniture against earthquake risk, baby-proofing the property, and hanging their pictures.

We’re stopping landlords from playing off renters by getting them to bid against each other for the same property. People don’t have to bid on meals when a restaurant is busy, and they shouldn’t have to bid on rental homes, either.

We’re limiting rental increases to once a year, too.

The new rules give renters and landlords alike more certainty, which is good for all of them. – Labour List MP for Rangitata, Jo Luxton