INDEPENDENT NEWS

Landlords & Tenants Deserve Fair & Just Advocates

Published: Fri 12 Dec 2003 10:03 AM
Marc My Words.
From Marc Alexander MP. 11 December 2003
United Future NZ-Christchurch Supplement
Landlords and Tenants Deserve Fair and Just Advocates
Every civil society has laws and dispute resolution systems that treat everyone as equal before the law and are based on a sense of fair play and justice. Furthermore, there is an expectation that those in responsible positions conduct themselves with a civility equal to their position.
Why then, would anyone be against landlords just because they are landlords? How is it possible that a person can be so seemingly filled with ideological hatred against landlords as tenants' advocate Helen Gaytoni?
Even the most rabid socialist who sees landlords, employers and all those who take a risk to better themselves as enemies of the State (unless bereft of a modicum of a brain-stem) ought to have an inherent sense of fairness. The Residential Tenancies Act is 17 years old, is outdated and decrepit in legislative terms. It was born of a different time entirely when unions were strong, unemployment was high and opportunities negligible.
Those days are fortunately gone but some petty little bureaucrats are obviously still trapped in an imaginary world of ideological idiocy.
Nevertheless at last the Act is in review and we have a good chance that Housing Minister Steve Maharey will revisit it next year. We'll be ready for him. What really bothers me are all the complaints I receive about alleged abuses by people getting a Council subsidy to persecute the very people who contribute to that subsidy through rates, in favour of those who give false references, owe outstanding rent and, in some cases I have witnessed, made a point of destroying property! Any sane and rational person would want to see the guilty punished and the innocent receive full recompense. Sure there are bad landlords.and they deserve to be dealt with as well. But to implicitly suggest that all tenants are, by virtue of being tenants always right, is an affront to good landlords, good tenants and yes..commonsense.
Because to believe otherwise will only drive people away from being landlords (as I know some who already have) and exacerbate a housing need that no government could fulfil.
And as the recent story of Erin Gilmour whose foot went through the floorboards of her Riccarton house on 25 November illustrates, the worst landlord of all seems to be the Government's own Housing NZ! Ultimately, if the likes of Gaytoni don't embrace either logic or what is just, they will hurt the very people for whom they say they advocate. Why should good tenants have to pay higher rentals and have fewer accommodation choices because some bureaucratic buffoon makes a habit of advocating for tenants who are possible serial offenders.
ENDS

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