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'The People’s Review of Renting' Tells Human Stories

The People’s Review of Renting launched: telling the human stories behind the rental housing crisis

Personal moving testimony from some of the forgotten people whose daily lives are affected by New Zealand’s housing crisis – those who rent – marked the launch of a joint ActionStation and Renters United report today.

The People’s Review of Renting details the experiences of over 600 people in the rental sector who responded to a survey in June and July this year, and outlined common experiences of living in cold, unsafe, unhealthy, insecure and expensive rentals.

“Mould, mould, mould. Wallpaper bubbling off the damp walls. Black and yellow stains on the bathroom ceilings. Musty smells through every room of the house. Weird soft patches in the floor. No heating provided, strangely. Yeeuuucck… I’m a full-time working adult with a decent job in a professional industry, and yet my level of income still doesn’t enable me to have a decent home, free from mould, with heating provided and a smoke alarm installed (as is required by law) - and in the capital city of a developed nation no less! Wellington, the most liveable city in the world? Gimme a break!” - Renee Pearson, Wellington

“Right now, roughly half of the country lives in rentals. Yet many renters feel like second class citizens.” says Renters United spokesperson, and report co-author, Kate Day. This timely report aims to cut through the noise of the political debate and remind MPs of the impact their decisions have on people.

“I’ve only ever been an excellent tenant and looked after my homes as if I owned them and yet landlords and property managers won’t reciprocate that same respect by ensuring our homes are clean, dry, safe and affordable. The major problem is that there is no regulation on the rental market. Anybody can start a business looking after people’s property with no real knowledge of the law and with an over-inflated ego to boot, and boy have I seen plenty of that. You get an industry that is quite frankly in a shambles. The system is seriously broken.” - Jo Wright, Waikanae

Moving stories shared by renters across the country in the report are backed by academic research showing what needs to be done to ensure everyone can live in warm, dry, safe homes. Key among the recommendations, says Rick Zwaan, ActionStation Campaigner and report co-author, are to:

• Establish a mandatory rental Warrant of Fitness

• Limit rent increases to rises in the national minimum wage

• Abolish letting fees

• Require all landlords to be licensed under a regulatory board

• Establish a Commissioner for Housing to provide oversight of the rental sector and independent advice to the government

• Reform the Tenancy Tribunal to make it more accessible for tenants to take cases without fear of retribution.

“These powerful stories make a compelling case for major changes in the rental market,” Rick Zwaan says. “We urge politicians and voters to reflect on these stories and commit to changing lives now.”

People can read the full report and add their name to an open letter calling for the recommendations to be implemented at rentingreview.nz.


About ActionStation

ActionStation is an independent, crowdfunded community campaigning organisation representing over 160,000 New Zealanders acting together to create what we cannot achieve on our own: a society, economy and democracy that serves all of us - everyday people and the planet we love. About us: www.actionstation.org.nz

About Renters United

Renters United is an advocacy group working on behalf of tenants in the private rental market. We campaign for all renters to have safe, affordable and secure homes and a voice in the decisions that affect them. Most of our members are private renters in Wellington; we also have supporters who rent in other parts of the country or who own homes. About us: www.rentersunited.org.nz

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