Three-strikes tenancy proposal no help

Three-strikes tenancy proposal no help

A three-strikes proposal to end tenancies offered by the New Zealand Property Investors’ Federation is of little use to either owners or tenants, Tenancies War spokesman Mike Butler said today.

Federation executive director Andrew King, last week said that faced with the Government axing the 90-day no-cause tenancy terminations, owners should be allowed to invoke a three strikes policy against renters by giving two initial warnings, then a 90-day notice period.

Mr King cited a survey of 529 owners that showed only 36 per cent had used the 90-day no-cause termination. He said that having their home sold is the main cause of tenants feeling insecure, not 90-day without-cause notices.

“Three strikes would only delay the inevitable end of the tenancy and send a message to miscreants that they could create turmoil twice without consequence before the owner could do anything effective”, Mr Butler said.

Those not involved with renting would have no idea of the stress of having to deal with a tenant who has gone rogue. And the Government wants to remove from owners the right to end a tenancy, he said.

Eighty percent of rental property owners have just one rental property. This means that while a tenant has gone rogue such an owner’s total investment has become a liability, Mr Butler said.

Further Government-caused loss of control over a property that already consumes time and money to manage means that many owners are deciding to sell, which is putting pressure on tenants right now, he said.

Rogue tenants are relatively rare, with 95 percent of tenants paying the rent on time and looking after the property as their home, Mr Butler said.

The New Zealand Property Investors’ Federation does not necessarily represent the owners of 588,700 rental properties in New Zealand, he said.

“If the sale of rental properties is the main cause of tenant insecurity, Housing Minister Phil Twyford should think long and hard before inflicting any more turmoil on the sector, Mr Butler said.

The group Stop the War on Tenancies aims to empower both owners and tenants in the face of ongoing Government ineptitude with housing.

See: Landlords want three-strikes rule to evict tenants at https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12148491

Owners not consulted directly on tenancy reforms

Owners not consulted directly on tenancy reforms

Why were the owners of New Zealand’s 588,700 rental properties not consulted on draconian proposals on tenancy law and extra housing standards when Tenancy Services holds the contact details of every owner who has lodged a bond, Tenancies War spokesman Mike Butler said today.

The submission period for proposed changes to tenancy law and extra standards for rental property ended yesterday.

Tenancy law proposals would prevent owners from ending tenancies contractually, ban fixed-term tenancies, give tenants the right to modify a property, allow tenants to keep pets as of right, and enable Government officials to enter boarding houses at any time.

Extra standards for rental property may require fixed heating in every room, additional insulation beyond current requirements, extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms, installation of polythene sheets under floors, and draught-stopping tape around windows and doors.

“The Government has the ability to notify owners directly but this time notification was limited to a few posts circulated around social media”, Mr Butler said.

“Is the office of Housing Minister Phil Twyford dysfunctional to the extent that contacting owners was never considered, or was the failure-to-notify a plot to minimise owner submissions and encourage feedback from tenants? he said.

Anyone who spent the several hours required to complete the online questionnaire about proposed tenancy reforms would see that the proposals would make an already biased-against-owners Residential Tenancies Act even more steeply biased against owners, Mr Butler said.

“Some questions were so poorly phrased that a rational response was not possible”, he said.

Anyone who completed the online questionnaire about the proposed extra standards would realise that the Housing Minister is trying to solve a problem that largely does not exist, Mr Butler said.

The questions skirt around the major issue, the elephant in the room, which is a shortage of affordable housing, both own-your-own and rental, he said.

The group Stop the War on Tenancies aims to empower both owners and tenants in the face of ongoing Government ineptitude with housing.

Tenancy reforms miss the main point — unpaid rent

Tenancy reforms miss the main point — unpaid rent

Evidence obtained on Friday under the Official Information Act shows that Housing Minister Phil Twyford’s tenancy law tinkering misses the main issue, which is unpaid rent, Tenancies War spokesman Mike Butler said today.

The information release by Tenancy Services came just days before the deadline for submissions on tenancy law reforms on October 21, and on extra standards on October 22.

For the 2017-18 financial year there were 35,581 applications to the Tenancy Tribunal, with 31,031 lodged by rental property owners or managers, and of these, 25,329 applications were over unpaid rent, according to Tenancy Services.

Mr Twyford’s proposed changes to tenancy law would prevent owners from ending tenancies contractually, ban fixed-term tenancies, give tenants the right to modify a property, allow tenants to keep pets as of right, and enable Government officials to enter boarding houses at any time.

Persistent unpaid rent which makes up 72 percent of total applications to the Tenancy Tribunal is the elephant in the room is that the Minister is either unaware of or refuses to acknowledge, Mr Butler said.

Unpaid rent is bad for owners, who must forego income, and bad for tenants, who will have a black mark on their credit history, he said.

The New Zealand Property Investor’s Federation has suggested stronger law around unpaid rent which could mean charging interest on unpaid rent, the ability to charge tenants’ credit cards, or exemplary damages for refusal to pay rent, Mr Butler said.

Tenancy Services also revealed that owners and managers had filed 1118 notices to quit, 158 for unlawful activity, 95 for failure to allow entry, and 77 for assault.

Tenants had filed 270 notices to quit, 14 for unlawful activity, one for failure to allow entry, and 13 for assault.

Tenants had also filed 668 notices to do with breaches of quiet enjoyment (owners 18) and 338 retaliatory notices (owners 1).

The worst case occurred last year when a property manager and her daughter were murdered at a property near Whangarei while visiting for an inspection and to install smoke alarms.

See: Northland shooting – Mother and daughter die https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11895553

Unpaid rent, notices to quit, unlawful activity, failure to allow entry, and assault are the actual issues between owners and tenants, Mr Butler said, and Mr Twyford’s reforms don’t touch on any of these.

“Considering that there are 588,700 rental properties in New Zealand, the 35,581 disputes represented only six percent of the total tenancies in operation last year”, Mr Butler said. “This shows that tenancies on the whole run pretty smoothly”.

A request under the Official Information Act to the Minister about additional standards that will require owners to provide and maintain heat pumps, install additional insulation, extractor fans for kitchens and bathrooms, install under-floor polythene sheets to stop rising damp, and place draught-proofing tape around all windows and doors has not been responded to.

Both requests for information were sent in around September 12.

The group Stop the War on Tenancies aims to empower both owners and tenants in the face of ongoing Government ineptitude with housing.

Attention rental property owners

Please put in your submissions today on far-reaching proposed changes to tenancy law and extra rental property standards.

This is because these proposals will have a big impact on you.

Proposed changes to tenancy law will prevent you from ending tenancies contractually, ban fixed-term tenancies, give tenants the right to modify a property, allow tenants to keep pets as of right, and enable Government officials to enter boarding houses at any time.

Additional standards will require you to provide and maintain expensive heat pumps, install additional insulation, extractor fans for kitchens and bathrooms, install under-floor polythene sheets to stop rising damp, and place draught-proofing tape around all windows and doors.

Putting in two submissions may be a 15-minute task by going here:

http://tenancieswar.nz/tenancyreform/ on tenancy law reform,

http://tenancieswar.nz/healthy-homes-legislation/ on the extra standards.

The proposals are not evidence-based; they are to satisfy a small group of vocal supporters of the current Government.

Many owners who are disgusted with being used as scapegoats by successive governments are selling, with first-home buyers snapping up stand-alone houses.

This means there will be fewer rental properties available, rents will increase, and prospective tenants will face tougher scrutiny.

Nobody in Government appears to have thought that through.

Put in your submissions today.

Follow the links above, follow the directions, print the submission forms out, fill them in, and mail them in by Friday.

The deadline is 5pm on Sunday, October 21, for tenancy law, and 5pm on Monday, October 22, at, for standards.

One further step to take — please like this post and share it to all your Facebook friends.

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