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Growing number of renting households deserve security

7 October 2016

Growing number of renting households deserve security

The rapidly growing proportion of people living in rental homes shows the need for greater security and transparency around rent setting, as Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei has proposed in her Residential Tenancies (Safe and Secure Rentals) Bill.

Statistics NZ announced today that the number of households who rent is growing more than twice as fast as the number of owner-occupied households, and now comprises 32.9 percent of all households. Renting households have increased by 13,700 in the past year, while owner occupied households have only increased by 6,000.

“With a third of all households renting their home, by choice or because they can’t afford to buy in the broken Auckland property market, we should update the renting rules so they have security and stability to put down roots in their communities,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

“If you buy a house and fix your mortgage rate you can plan ahead, budget properly, and you know when and why the rate might change. People who rent deserve the same transparency around rent rises.

“Renting doesn’t need to be a second-rate option, if we modernise the tenancy rules to provide more secure and stable renting.

“Stable, long-term tenancies are good for both tenants and landlords – properties get looked after better when the tenants can truly call them home.

“Over half a million households now rent their home. It’s time to fix the law so it works better for tenants and landlords,” Mrs Turei said.

Metiria Turei’s Residential Tenancies (Safe and Secure Rentals) Bill has been selected from the members’ bill ballot and is expected to receive its first reading in mid-late October. It makes six changes to the Residential Tenancies Act:

1. Allowing existing tenants a right of first refusal when their lease expires.
2. Requiring landlords to be transparent about how they calculate rent rises.
3. Removing obligations on tenants to pay leasing fees.
4. Creating a default lease term of three years, with the ability to choose a shorter term.
5. Preventing rent increases more often than once every 12 months for periodic and fixed-term tenancies.
6. Restoring the 90-day notice period when landlords wish to sell the property.

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