Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Substandard Housing Concern

July 8 2001 Media Statement


Landlords renting sub-standard houses may face hefty penalties in future, Housing Minister Mark Gosche warned today.

Mr Gosche said government concern about the appalling conditions some New Zealanders were living in could prompt a toughening of the Residential Tenancies Act.

A recent government report on sub-standard rental housing found no evidence that the current legislative standards for rental housing were too low or flawed. Instead the problems seems to be in administering and enforcing the legislation, said Mr Gosche.

"That report showed that the difficulties tenants face getting substandard housing rectified boil down to three things:
- the complaints system isn't strong enough
- the onus is on the tenant to complain to the local authorities or make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal and
- landlords and tenants lack knowledge of their legal rights and responsibilities."

As a result the Ministry of Housing and the new Housing New Zealand Corporation were looking at a range of initiatives including education for both tenants and landlords and introducing deterrent penalties for landlords if they fail to comply with work orders ordered under the Residential Tenancies Act.

"We need to give the complaints system more teeth. There are more than 300 applications made to the Tenancy Tribunal each year by tenants wanting work done on their rental properties. In most cases landlords comply with Tenancy Tribunal orders. However when landlords fail to do this there is currently no way to make them do the necessary work."

"We are looking at changing the Residential Tenancies Act to provide for stiff penalties for landlords who fail to comply, to send a very clear message to all landlords that this behaviour will not be tolerated," Mr Gosche said.

Landlords can already be prosecuted by local authorities, as the Waitakere City Council did recently resulting in a $40,000 fine for the landlord.

"But this is the exception rather than the rule. The reality is that local authority prosecutions are rare and when they are taken they are slow and expensive."

In addition the housing agencies were developing a voluntary code of practice for landlords, and looking at how to increase housing advocacy and education services, to ensure that landlords and tenants know their legal rights.

Mr Gosche said the changes would particularly help low income New Zealanders.

"Tenants in substandard housing are less likely to have the skills required to effectively use the complaints system. Many of them have English as a second language and are fearful of 'officialdom', " said Mr Gosche.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Zimbabwe: New Democracy, Or A False Dawn?

Gordon Campbell: Robert Mugabe = Hosni Mubarak. The current jubilation on the streets of Harare at the fall of Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe is genuine, and one hates to be negative about the country’s future. Yet the situation is eerily similar to the scenes in Cairo in early 2011, when a popular uprising swept Hosni Mubarak from power in Egypt. More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them. More>>

ALSO:

Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>

ALSO:

Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>

ALSO:

Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election