Turei on landlord v. tenant rights

In Parliament today Green co-leader Metiria Turei asked a contentious question about landlord family’s rights versus tenant family’s rights.

Metiria Turei: Is the Minister arguing that a landlord’s family has more rights to that home than the tenant’s family, who may well have been living in that home for many years, built their lives around the schools and working community there—that those tenants have fewer rights than those other families?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: Well, we believe in property rights. The landlord owns the property, and if they wish it for themselves or their family then they have to give only 42 days’ notice, so yes.

Either the landlord or the tenant giving notice to vacate a rented property has been fairly common through my lifetime.

I don’t know if it is happening elsewhere but in Dunedin 12 month tenancy agreements have become common, tying them in with annual turnover of student accommodation.

I believe the Greens are pushing for virtually lifetime guarantees for tenants.

Full transcript:


Residential Tenancies (Safe and Secure Rentals) Amendment Bill—Support

5. METIRIA TUREI (Co-Leader—Green) to the Minister for Building and Housing: Ka tautoko ia ia taku Pire e hoatu nōhanga wā roa ana, ngita ana, tū roa ana i runga i tana tohutohu ki te hunga hoko whare tuatahi, ko nāianei, “probably not a good time for a young family to buy”; i tētahi whare i Akarana?

[Will he support my bill to provide more secure and stable long-term tenancies, given his recent advice to first-home buyers that now is “probably not a good time for a young family to buy” a house in Auckland?]

Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Social Housing) on behalf of the Minister for Building and Housing: Although we certainly respect what the member is trying to do as far as tenants’ rights are concerned, we will not be supporting the bill, with the reason being that we are genuinely concerned that it might drive up compliance costs and actually end up harming tenants more than it ends up actually helping. The Government, however, is open to reforms that would encourage longer-term tenancies, and work is under way on setting up a stakeholder group on these very issues.

Metiria Turei: If the Minister is telling first-home buyers now not to buy a house, because homes are too expensive, will he at least support better tenancy rules that will create transparency around rent rises, given that rents are increasing at twice the rate of wages and families cannot afford that level of increase?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: The first part of the member’s statement, I believe, is taken a bit out of context, and we are certainly not telling first-home buyers not to buy. In fact, we are seeing the opposite happen, and even in my own electorate of Hobsonville Point you can see many new homeowners buying there. However, in relation to the transparency and to some of the clauses in the bill, as I say, I think they need careful consideration. We have concerns on this side of the House about unintended consequences and those not being positive for the tenant.

Metiria Turei: If the Minister is encouraging people to stay renting because housing is so expensive to buy, will he give renters more security in their homes by removing the 42-day eviction notice, which is leading to increased levels of homelessness?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: I do not support the first statement by the member, but in relation to the second statement, 90 days is actually the norm and there are exceptions that can be the 42 days. The exceptions to the 90 days are where the landlord’s family or themselves want to move in, or an employee, and then in the cases of where they might have sold. Where it is sold, it is when there is an unconditional agreement actually signed and the new owner wants a vacant property. It is 42 days from then, not from when it goes on the market or anything else, so, actually, 90 days is the norm.

Metiria Turei: Is the Minister arguing that a landlord’s family has more rights to that home than the tenant’s family, who may well have been living in that home for many years, built their lives around the schools and working community there—that those tenants have fewer rights than those other families?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: Well, we believe in property rights. The landlord owns the property, and if they wish it for themselves or their family then they have to give only 42 days’ notice, so yes.

Metiria Turei: Has the Minister talked to the Minister of Education about the effect on children from having to move schools every year because their parents cannot afford stable long-term tenancies in homes because of rent increases and 42-day notices?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: Yes, I have, and actually we agree with, and share, her concerns around those who are moving a lot and not actually getting settled in their communities. That is why we have a number of things that are in place that are leading towards that—whether it is around social housing, whether it is around the work that is going on via schools and social workers in schools and other sorts of programmes. What we are concerned about is that some of the policies that the member is trying to put through, in her bill, potentially could have landlords withdrawing houses for tenants and, as a consequence of that, we think that that of course will mean fewer homes and actually lead to more disadvantage for those very people whom she is trying to help.

Metiria Turei: Does the Minister not understand how irrational it is for the Minister of housing to be telling families not to buy a house because housing is too expensive and yet to stay in rental accommodation when renting is, as she has said, insecure, unstable, and expensive?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: I know it is hard for the member to appreciate, but actually I think that there is probably agreement across the House on what we want to see as the outcomes for these people. What we disagree on is actually the venue and the vehicle for doing that, and the member’s bill, at the very worst, is actually careless and could lead to more actual vulnerability for those very families whom she is trying to help. We have said that we are looking at setting up a stakeholders’ advisory group where it can be carefully considered and we can make sure that we have got the interests of the tenants foremost in those views. We already made changes to the Residential Tenancies Act earlier this year, which I think go some way towards protecting some of the tenants’ rights—

Metiria Turei: No, it doesn’t.

Hon PAULA BENNETT: —well, they do, actually—and that is what we will continue to do, but it will be in a careful and thoughtful manner that actually leads to better outcomes.

31 Comments

  1. Corky

     /  November 30, 2016

    ”Hon PAULA BENNETT: Well, we believe in property rights. The landlord owns the property, and if they wish it for themselves or their family then they have to give only 42 days’ notice, so yes.”

    Girl, you need to toughen up before becoming PM. Your reply in response to this Earth Mother/ Gaia fairy trying to move in on property rights should have been reduced to two words..guess what they are?

    While you are at it Paula, you may want to re think Nationals position on property rights…National don’t seem to understand( forgotten?) this mainspring of civil society, except when it comes to Maoridom of course.

    • Gezza

       /  November 30, 2016

      Yes they do. The Nats have given back quite a lot of stolen property to Maori Corky.

      • Corky

         /  November 30, 2016

        That is debatable in some circumstances. But, boy, have the Nats payed interest with benefit payments in the interim. Pity National stole the march on Labour with its settlement plans. I would have thought that’d be a default selling for the Left. Guess you can’t tell a book by its cover.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  December 1, 2016

          Perhaps tenants should have to stay in a rental house forever.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  December 1, 2016

            I wonder if Metiria would sing the same song if she rented her house out for a year because she wasn’t using it and was told by the tenants to eff off, they were staying.

            It’s the chance one takes as a renter. Just as landlords take the chance that the tenants will leave and the house won’t be earning any income. Should tenants be obliged to stay until new tenants are found, or make sure that landlords aren’t out of pocket by paying rent until new tenants move in ?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  December 1, 2016

              I meant, of course, be legally obliged to stay in that house forever.

            • Blazer

               /  December 1, 2016

              @kitty…’tiny % in reality’….you are kidding…hey ever wonder why Asian countries do not allow foreigners to buy land and houses,are they stupid?Over 50% of Auck property is purchased by foreigners.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  December 2, 2016

              If you believe that, you’ll believe anything.

          • Blazer

             /  December 1, 2016

            um…they do and will have to,with this govt,increasing subsidies to landlords and allowing foreigners to buy up all the residential properties by outbidding locals.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  December 1, 2016

              Old, old, foreign nationals buy a tiny % in reality. Any foreign national who’s willing to pay me more than anyone else for my house will be welcome to do so. Bring them on. I’d sell to the highest bidder-who wouldn’t ?

            • patupaiarehe

               /  December 1, 2016

              Someone with a social conscience, who didn’t need the money?

  2. Blazer

     /  November 30, 2016

    ‘Gordon’ is no match for Metiria ,and will never be P.M.

    • Corky

       /  November 30, 2016

      In your dreams, Blazer. Metiria will be rolled after the election when the Left turn on each other. It will be a blood bath in true Leftie fashion. I can tell you I will take no pleasure watching good people go down in the melee. I will just be grateful I made the RIGHT choice.

    • Missy

       /  December 1, 2016

      There is a business opportunity there Corky, I for one (if I was allowed to, which I am not under my visa conditions) would be looking at setting up a business to exchange 5 pound notes for higher ones for the Vegans & Vegetarians that don’t want money with animal fat (for a fee of course). Not sure what you could do in NZ though if all of the notes are the same – maybe exchange notes for coins. 🙂

      • Corky

         /  December 1, 2016

        Missy, you have a mind of a business person, and the heart of an angel. Your business plan would be considered ‘ethical’ by the Greens.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  December 1, 2016

      Blechhhhh…..thank goodness it’s only 1%. How gross. I wish that I hadn’t heard that. Animal fat ? How disgusting. Pass the bucket.

  3. patupaiarehe

     /  December 1, 2016

    So here’s a thought, regarding ‘transient families’. Thousands of farm worker’s children change schools in the first fortnight of June every year. Just ask a principal of any rural school, about what a headache ‘Gypsy day’ gives them…
    Families need stability and security, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to live in the same place forever. Moving house is a pain in the arse at the best of times, and I have no intention of putting my whanau through it again anytime soon. If I was subject to the ‘whims’ of a landlord, I wouldn’t have the luxury of saying that. My suggestion to families who want that, is get the hell out of Auckland! Learn how the ‘equity equation’ works, and find employment in a town where properties sell below CV. Zero deposit home loans still happen, just not in Auckland….

  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  December 1, 2016

    Here’s a really novel idea. If you want a long term lease, negotiate terms accordingly. Let the landlord strike whatever deal s/he is willing to do. I’m sure that has never happened before in the history of this planet.

    Of course that is far too radical for the Left who think nothing can happen unless the Government both permits and commands it.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  December 1, 2016

      Oh, and if the champagne Lefties want better rental terms for tenants, how about they put their money where their big mouths are and buy lots of properties and rent them out accordingly? Why ever not, Metiria?

    • patupaiarehe

       /  December 1, 2016

      I’d give you a thumb Alan, if you hadn’t added that nasty lefty slur 😉
      You are quite correct though, a tenant with glowing references should appreciate how valuable they are to a property owner, and negotiate terms that are agreeable to both sides.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  December 1, 2016

        Thoroughly deserved, those Lefty comments, patu. Tunnel vision, none of it involving actually doing something themselves.

        • patupaiarehe

           /  December 1, 2016

          Yup, useless buggers they are those leftys. Do nothing but work all day, making money for their ‘Righty tighty whitey’ employers. They should just STFU, and appreciate the scraps that are thrown their way…

          • patupaiarehe

             /  December 1, 2016

            Obvoiusly the ‘leftys’ I speak of aren’t politicians. They are the ‘missing million’ that Labour claim to represent… It’s hardly surprising they don’t bother voting…

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  December 1, 2016

              True, path. They have nothing in common with “their” politicians. Probably more in common with their “boss” who works beside them.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  December 1, 2016

              Damn autocorrect, patu.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  December 1, 2016

              They do Alan, as their ‘boss’ was exactly where they are now, not so long ago. The difference is that their ‘boss’ got into the property market fifteen years ago, when a tradesman could actually afford to service a mortgage on a house close to where he works. Even on the income I earn now, if we had to start from scratch, we would be tenants for life…

  5. Oh Patu, you have made me weep so much for the distress the Colonialist British have personally caused you. During the last 50 years I and my non-Maori taxpayers have paid, how many Billions of $NZ in compensation for what the Pommies allegedly did to the various Iwi, so what have you and yours done with it? I really think you need to fuss up with your kin and ask what our (i.e. Non Maori sacrifices) have achieved for Maori. If the answer is nothing then give us our money back. We do not accept further obligations until you Maori start to sort out your lives according to NZ Law. In summary get over it, do not spend time grieving for the past, look at today’s opportunities and live for the future. Or is that beyond you?

    • patupaiarehe

       /  December 2, 2016

      Oh really Colonel? I’m not too sure what I said to deserve that! You’re making assumptions about me, which are incorrect. I suggest a quick ‘Google’ of my pseudonym…. 😉