INDEPENDENT NEWS

Renters group pushes for tougher laws for landlords

Published: Thu 12 Jul 2018 01:08 PM
Katie Doyle, Journalist
Dozens of tenants sick of mouldy, cold and outright dangerous homes are backing a campaign for tougher laws for landlords.
Renter Linda says her Wellington flat is draughty and cold, but the landlord refuses to do anything about it. Photo: RNZ / Katie Doyle
The plan from the Renters United group calls for stricter rules to ensure people are charged fair rent for houses that meet minimum standards for health and safety.
Linda - who has lived in her Wellington flat for four years - said renting had been a nightmare.
"It's draughty, It's cold, we're on a busy road so we get diesel dust all through the flat, the skirting boards in the bathroom are rotting but the landlord doesn't want to do anything about it."
She was just one of the more than 60 people who met last night for the launch of 'The Plan to Fix Renting'- which aims to solve the problems tenants like Linda faced every day.
One woman, who did not want to be named, said the plan meant her landlords would have to tackle things like windows that did not fit properly.
"There's really big gaps [either side of] these really big windows, that you sort of pull up, and they've got like three-centimetre gaps in the frames," she said.
"I complained about it because they let in, like, these big draughts and the landlord came over and just stuck carpet on top of the cracks."
John, who was also at the launch, said his flat had serious structural issues.
"The building is yellow-stickered and the yellow sticker fell off in a storm over the holiday season a couple years back and he hasn't fixed that," he said.
"The law requires the yellow sticker to be up there no matter what and he hasn't got it replaced."
Another tenant said he was tired of landlords who refused to pay money for professional tradies.
"As much as I love the New Zealand jack-of-all-trades attitude, I actually want things fixed and when they are fixed they shouldn't break," he said.
"It's gotten to the point where we've had a driver for the LED lighting which has caught on fire because the landlord decided to go and fix it himself when he's not a qualified electrician."
Under the plan, landlords would have to get work done properly, or they'd miss out on a rental warrant of fitness that could only be issued if the building was up to code.
Many of the people RNZ spoke to did not want to be named because they were worried they might be evicted.
Such behaviour is illegal but the tenants said it happened anyway, which is why they wanted landlords stopped from being able to give notice without reason.
Other proposals included capping rent increases to the rate of inflation, abolishing letting fees and giving the tenancy tribunal more teeth to investigate and order landlords to take action.
Renters United said it would continue to pressure the government until something was done to fix what they describe as a crisis.
RNZ
New Zealand's public broadcaster, providing comprehensive NZ news and current affairs, specialist audio features and documentaries.
Radio New Zealand is a Crown entity established under the Radio New Zealand Act 1995. Radio New Zealand News are vital elements in our programming, providing impartial news and information to New Zealanders every day. Radio New Zealand (RNZ) provides listeners with exciting and independent radio programmes in accordance with the Radio New Zealand Charter.

Next in Comment

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70
By: UNHCHR
Gordon Campbell on Judgment Day for Theresa May
By: Gordon Campbell
Gordon Campbell on why we politely fake political obituaries
By: Gordon Campbell
NZ biodiversity losses match global crisis
By: Robert McLachlan and Steven Alexander Trewick
Your Organisation Can Now Sponsor a Section on Scoop.co.nz!
By: Scoop Publishing
Scoop's PledgeMe Campaign Finishes Today - With $1644 Needed
By: Alastair Thompson
Charters and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
By: Binoy Kampmark
Amnesty publishes review of human rights in 2018
By: Amnesty International
Judgment: UK free to revoke article 50 notification
By: Court of Justice of the European Union
Kelvin Davis to represent New Zealand at Bush Funeral
By: New Zealand Government
PM's condolences on the passing of George H.W. Bush
By: New Zealand Government
George H.W. Bush: Cold War Ends and New World Orders
By: Binoy Kampmark
United States War Crimes During the First Persian Gulf War
By: Prof. Francis A. Boyle
Scoop Section Sponsorships: An Opportunity to Collaborate
By: Joseph Cederwall
Open Letter Part 2: Who Are Scoop's Biggest Freeriders?
By: Alastair Thompson
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media