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CAB client enquiries reflect the urgent need to fix renting

Press Release - Embargoed until 11 July 2018 6pm

“Citizens Advice Bureau client enquiries reflect the urgent need to fix renting”

11/7/2018 6:00pm

Clients seeking help from Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) describe a very damp, mouldy, insecure and unaffordable picture of a renting environment that just isn’t working. With insights from client stories highlighting the urgent need for change, the CAB is standing alongside other organisations backing a national campaign to fix renting launched today.

CAB National Advisor, Sacha Green, says “It's time to fix things. A healthy home is a fundamental human right and the current rental market is failing to protect the rights and health of citizens. All homes should be safe and healthy to live in.”

CAB responds to over 14,000 enquiries related to renting issues each year. Common concerns raised by clients are the poor condition of their housing, lack of responsiveness by landlords to addressing maintenance issues, terminations of tenancy without proper notice, unfair charging of letting fees, unaffordable rent increases, and harsh terms and conditions relating to fixed term tenancies. The Plan to Fix Renting seeks to address these issues.

To ensure real change the CAB is backing the Plan’s recommendation that mandatory minimum standards be implemented through a comprehensive warrant of fitness that applies to all rental properties.

“The standards need to be clear and compulsory, and consistently enforced. The power imbalance between landlords and tenants means it’s just not workable to put the burden of challenging substandard housing on renters” maintains Ms Green.

Security of tenure is another key issue facing CAB clients. “We regularly see people whose lives are being disrupted by unexpected terminations of tenancy and the negative impact of on people’s wellbeing is significant” explains Sacha Green. “Protecting tenants’ rights to secure and stable housing is essential for wellbeing.”

CAB supports the removal of a landlord’s right to terminate a tenancy without cause or to give only 42 days’ notice of termination when selling the house or putting family members into the property. “People should be able to make a rented property their home and make plans for the future with reasonable certainty” asserts Ms Green.

CAB acknowledges that the Government has signalled a clear commitment to making life better for renters. Housing Minister Phil Twyford has indicated that consultation will be happening soon.

Sacha Green says “we look forward to urgent action being taken to make this plan to fix renting a reality”.

The Plan can be viewed at fixrenting.org.nz and the public is being encouraged to sign up in support.


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