Heavy opposition to tenancy proposals

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.

Read what owners say on the issues at http://tenancieswar.nz/tenancyreform/submissions/  Please download the RTA Simplified Submission Full Report 21-10-18.

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.