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Manawatū Tenants Union Condemns Proposed Residential Tenancies Act Amendments

The Manawatū Tenants Union has expressed deep concern over the proposed amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act put forward by Housing Minister Chris Bishop. The changes, aimed at revitalising the rental property market, have raised significant apprehensions among tenant advocate groups.

One of the most contentious alterations is the reintroduction of 90-day 'no cause' terminations for periodic tenancies. This move has sparked fears among tenants, as it could leave them vulnerable to abrupt evictions without justifiable cause, potentially leading to homelessness.

Likewise, the reduction of notice periods for both landlords and tenants exacerbates the power disparity in the rental market. Tenants are given inadequate time to address disputes with their landlords, while shortened notice periods render them powerless to speak up about the condition of their properties.

The Manawatū Tenants Union emphasises that these changes do not serve the best interests of tenants but rather prioritise landlords' concerns. The assertion that these amendments will increase the supply of rental properties and lower rents lacks empirical basis and disregards tenants' experiences.

In response, the Union urges the Government to reconsider these changes and engage in meaningful consultation with tenant advocate groups. Collaborative efforts between stakeholders, they argue, will lead to policies that prioritise tenant security, affordability, and dignity.

Furthermore, the Union highlights the failure of these amendments to address the deplorable condition of rental properties and the rising market rents. Vulnerable populations, including low-income families, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities, are disproportionately affected by substandard housing conditions, exacerbating existing health and social inequalities.

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The Union also challenges the notion that property investors, often colloquially referred to as "Mum and Dad" landlords, are more likely to increase the supply of housing. They call for the use of gender-neutral language in government address, advocating for terms such as "property investors" or "landlords."

As staunch advocates for tenants' rights and welfare, the Manawatū Tenants Union pledges to stand united with tenants not only in the Manawatu region but also nationwide and vigorously oppose measures that undermine their interest, rights and access to justice.

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