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ACT Will End Labour’s War On Landlords

“Landlords have been scapegoated and blamed by Labour for the housing crisis when the real cause is a lack of housing supply”, says ACT leader David Seymour.

“ACT will end Labour’s war on landlords, including by immediately reinstating mortgage interest deductibility from April 2024.

“We will also protect the community from unruly tenants in state housing by making it easier to evict them, putting them at the bottom of the housing waitlist, and giving more deserving families a home.

“Labour’s policies of removing mortgage interest deductibility, bright-line test extensions, and Residential Tenancies Act, and other, changes have piled cost and bureaucracy on landlords.

“Policies introduced to ‘protect’ tenants have ended up hurting them with higher rents. Real solutions for renters don’t involve pitting tenants against landlords but making it easier to build houses to bring rents down and give tenants more choice.

“ACT will:

  • Reinstate interest deductibility for residential landlords with effect from April 2024, rather than phasing it in over three years. ACT’s fully costed Alternative Budget accounts for this.
  • Abolish the bright-line test, a stealth capital gains tax introduced by National.
  • Simplify the process for evicting unruly tenants. ACT would amend s55A of the Residential Tenancies Act so, rather than having to issue tenants with three written notices within 90 days, landlords would only have to issue two written notices within a year.
  • Reverse Labour’s changes to notice periods for landlords and tenants. ACT will return tenants’ notice period to 21 days (currently 28) and landlords’ to 42 days if they want to sell or move in (currently 90 days if they want to sell or 63 days if they want to move in).
  • Enable landlords to charge a pet bond to increase the number of rentals allowing pets.
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“ACT will also make it easier to evict disruptive Kāinga Ora tenants. ACT will:

  • Remove National and Labour’s damaging ‘sustaining tenancies’ policy.
  • Amend section 55A of the Residential Tenancies Act so, rather than having to issue tenants with three written notices within 90 days, landlords would instead only have to issue two written notices within a year.
  • Reduce bureaucracy around termination. Sign-off would only be required from the service unit manager, not the Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Executive.
  • Specify that a tenancy can be terminated and not simply transferred to a different Kāinga Ora property if the tenant engages in dangerous or severe disruptive behaviour. Such behaviour would include drug production or supply, acts of violence, presentation of weapons, persistent intimidation or malicious harassment, and threatening or intimidating behaviour.
  • Clarify that tenants who are terminated for anti-social behaviour will be moved to the bottom of the public housing and emergency housing waitlists.
  • Clarify that the requirement for Kāinga Ora to ‘prove’ anti-social behaviour can include testimony from other residents in the neighbourhood. Both parties would have access to a private hearing by the Tenancy Tribunal to give testimony. This will protect witnesses and tenants in vulnerable situations who may be victims of abuse or intimidation.
  • Apply section 53B of the Residential Tenancies Act to all forms of tenancy, rather than just periodic tenancies. When a tenancy is determined to be terminated, reduce required notice for tenants from 90 days to 21 days.
  • Require Kāinga Ora to engage with Police if they are made aware of illegal activity.
  • Introduce a duty for Kāinga Ora to process and consider all public complaints, and to inform complainants of its decision.

“These tenants would not simply be moved on to another Kāinga Ora tenancy. ACT would move them to the bottom of both the public housing and emergency housing waitlists. This will introduce consequences for bad behaviour and provide an incentive for tenants to change their beha viour. And it will give more deserving people on the housing register who have not treated the community with disrespect a chance to be housed.”

Policy documents are available here and here.

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