The Labour Party has promised to stop landlords evicting tenants without good reason, as well as extending notice periods to 90 days, if elected to government.
Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says the policy is about making renting a ‘more stable and healthy experience for families'.
“Labour is committed to restoring the Kiwi dream of owning your own place. We also recognise that long-term renting has become a reality for more families, but the current law creates instability and insecurity for many,” she says.
“It is not uncommon for renters to be forced to move as often as once a year. Families are living with a level of stress and anxiety, with often very little notice that they have to move on and find a home in a tough rental market.
“Cold, damp homes are also a huge problem. It's vital we improve the quality of rentals so our children no longer get sick or die from living in cold, damp and mouldy houses.
“We're going to fix this. We want our rental system to be fair, and take away stress for both tenants, and landlords.”
Labour would extend notice periods to 90 days to allow renters more time to organise their affairs. The party would also abolish “no-cause” terminations. Rent increases will be limited to once a year instead of the current six months, and the formula for increases will need to be set in tenancy agreements so that tenants know what to expect. Letting fees will also be abolished.
“Landlords should also feel secure knowing that their property is in good hands. If a tenancy agreement is breached, landlords should be able to access the tenancy tribunal and have action taken straight away. We'll make sure the tribunal is resourced to take act quickly when they need to.
“Many landlords and renters are looking for secure longer term fixed tenancies. In these cases, we'll change the law so there is the option of paying higher bond in exchange for the ability to make a house a home by making minor alternations, like painting a wall or hanging a picture, as long as the tenant returns the property to the state it was in at the start of the tenancy.
She says Labour will also pass the Healthy Homes Bill into law, ensuring that all rentals are warm, dry, and healthy to live in.
“We'll help with this by offering landlords $2000 grants for insulation and heating. These measures will help stop our kids getting sick and dying of preventable diseases that have no place in a country like New Zealand.
“This package has been designed, based on international examples, to get the balance between tenants and landlords right.”