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Housing New Zealand clarifies dog policy

MEDIA RELEASE

Housing New Zealand clarifies dog policy

Friday 24 January 2013

Housing New Zealand, like many other landlords, generally doesn’t allow dogs in its properties – but it does make exceptions, taking a case by case approach using common sense and compassion.

Jackie Pivac, Acting General Manager Tenancy Services, says that recent publicity in the media about the organisation’s dog policy may have caused confusion.

“We don’t have a new dog policy. We are, and have always been, upfront with our tenants about our approach, and it's in the tenancy agreements that they sign when they first move into a property,” she says.

“There are a lot of practical reasons why we discourage tenants from having dogs. Dogs can cause damage to our properties, be a nuisance to neighbours and make it difficult or unsafe for our tenancy managers or contractors to visit our properties. Many of our properties are also simply unsuitable for dogs, and having a dog can make it difficult for people to move on to private sector accommodation as many private landlords don't allow dogs.

“We think our approach is responsible – especially because, on behalf of the Crown, we own or manage 69,000 properties across New Zealand, worth approximately $17 billion.

“However, we recognise that dogs play an important part in many people's lives, and we are the first to admit that our no dog policy is a difficult rule to enforce. That's why we take a case by case approach. We do not want to cause distress for any of our tenants by being unreasonable. It can make it even more difficult for us when a tenant who has agreed not to get a dog then acquires one.

“There are no hard and fast rules as to when we would allow a dog – but we will always try to approach each case sensitively and with compassion. We would always grant permission for guide dogs and disability assist dogs, or where a dog is seen as being important to therapy for mental illness or other chronic health condition.

“We did review our dog policy in 2012, as we were concerned at the seemingly high number of tenants who had dogs without our permission. However, in the end we have continued to take a pragmatic approach to what is always a difficult topic, asking that tenants seek our permission in the first instance.”

Ends

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