Heavy opposition to tenancy proposals
A 92-response snapshot survey circulated among property groups shows heavy opposition to proposed reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act, Tenancies War spokesman Mike Butler said today.
Tenancy law proposals would ban 90-day no-cause terminations, 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.
After spending eight hours completing the official submission document, an Auckland rental property owner created an online form which she circulated from October 5 to October 21 to property groups on Facebook.
She said that she strongly believes in fairness and that the proposed changes were biased against property owners, most of whom are honest, hard-working people who are simply investing so that they don’t have to rely on the state in the future.
Renters United were already circulating a simplified form, were more frequently reported in the media than owners, and already had the Government on their side.
The biggest response to the 92-response survey was to do with requiring purchasers to take on the tenant of any rental during the sale and purchase of a property.
A whopping 98 percent thought that if a property is being sold, the new owner should be able to request vacant possession if they want to live in the property, have family members live in it, do major renovations to it, or turn it into commercial premises as is currently the case.
The proposed removal of 90-day notice no-cause terminations brought 94 percent opposition, with many saying owners never remove a tenant without a cause.
This misguided proposal is intended to give tenants additional security but would have the effect to sheltering badly-behaving tenants from any consequences.
A total 92 percent thought an owner should have the right to refuse pets on their property without giving a reason.
A group of 78 percent also opposed a ban on fixed-term tenancies, citing little evidence of problems with such tenancies.
A substantial group of 76 percent opposed giving tenants the right to make modifications, although 80 percent were OK with growing plants or vegies in the garden and 66 percent were OK with hooks for pictures.
No responses were sought on issues related to boarding houses.
The questionnaire encouraged respondents to “share their stories” which gathered 79 brief illustrative accounts on the issue of preventing owners from ending tenancies contractually, and almost the same number of stories for each of the other issues.
For instance, one respondent said:
When Mongrel members took over a two-bedroom flat and we had patched members there all the time and a savage dog all I could do was give the three-month no-reason termination
A total of 4761 submissions were received for the Residential Tenancies Act consultation and 1769 were received for the extra standards for rental property, according to a response received under the Official Information Act.
The group Stop the War on Tenancies aims to empower both owners and tenants in the face of ongoing Government ineptitude with housing.