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More could be done to alleviate housing desperation


18 January 2019

‘New renting rules alleviate some difficulty in time of housing desperation, but more could be done’ - NZUSA

The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) says that the changes to the Residential Tenancies Act and the introduction of the Healthy Homes Act alleviate some difficulty at one of the most difficult times of the year to be a renting student, but more could be done.

With many students going flatting for the first time or changing flats amidst a housing crisis in our two main hubs Auckland and Wellington, many extreme stories of desperation have been arising, says James Ranstead, President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations.

Auckland University Students Association President Anand Rama is seriously concerned, ‘We are regularly getting students who are struggling to find accommodation that they can afford, and who are having to balance saving money by living further away from the University with the increase in public transport costs that this entails. This isn't just a problem for students though, it’s a problem for Aotearoa, and our future workforce in general.’

Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association President Tamatha Paul agreed with the above comments, highlighting the need for the prohibition of rent-bidding, a common practice at this time of year.

Younited at Eastern Institute of Technology President Dallas Adams says that rent price hikes not only affect our major NZ cities, but also our regional communities. ‘Napier/Hastings rent increases are among the highest in the country which severely hurts the pockets of our students, and more should be done to alleviate the housing shortage’ says Adams.

‘Amidst this housing shortage, many tenants are celebrating the recent and proposed tenancy law changes. This includes the removal of letting fees late last year which prevents landlords from passing the cost of a letting fee onto a tenant, and the proposal to limit rent increases to once per year. The Fees free will also be assisting students through this process’, says Ranstead

The Healthy Homes Act will introduce standards for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, and draught stopping, though many of the legislative particulars are yet to be decided upon.

‘With such a shortage in housing, students will often take less than adequate housing as it is the only option available, and so we encourage the Government to be ambitious, and to set standards that care for our future leaders and remove Aotearoa’s poor legacy of housing quality compared to the likes of European countries’ says Ranstead.

NZUSA believes an additional way that this can be done is to enforce the need for a rental Warrant of Fitness, currently a voluntary scheme in Wellington that has also been trialled throughout the country.


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