Improving the lives of renters

Housing Minister Phil Twyford will receive an open letter from ActionStation and Renters United tomorrow. File photo.

Housing Minister, Phil Twyford, will receive an open letter signed by thousands of New Zealanders supporting moves to improve the lives of people who rent.

The delivery comes on the day that the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill is due to be debated.

ActionStation and Renters United are delivering the open letter which contains recommendations from the crowd-sourced and crowd-funded People’s Review of Renting, released before the election.

“Our members are pleased to see the Labour-led government make improving the lives of people who rent a key priority. We’re keen to show support for that and ensure the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill is as strong as possible,” says ActionStation spokesperson and report co-author Rick Zwaan.

“This Bill presents an excellent opportunity to improve the lives of renters. The amendments we are proposing will ensure that the new law is as strong as possible,” says Renters United spokesperson and report co-author Kate Day.

The groups are calling on the Government to enhance the Bill through proposed amendments to:

  • Require all homes to meet 2008 insulation standards.
  • Strengthen standards for rentals set out in the bill, including additional safety requirements like lighting, handrails, and security latches.
  • Include stronger sanctions for noncompliance.
  • Require heating to be energy efficient.
  • Require proper funding for enforcement.

This year’s People’s Review of Renting showcased hundreds of stories from people who rent which demonstrated the social, economic and environmental impacts associated with both poor quality rental housing stock and limited protections of tenants.

The open letter will also ask that the government take urgent action on rental quality and tenure issues some of which fall outside the scope of the current Bill including:

  • Introducing a mandatory rental Warrant of Fitness
  • Limiting annual rent rises
  • Abolishing letting fees
  • Abolishing no-fault evictions
  • Reforming the Tenancy Tribunal to an investigation rather than a confrontation model

While the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill in its current form is an advance on current legislation, stronger protection for people who rent and better enforcement of regulations is urgently needed.

“We look forward to working with the government to deliver improvements for people who rent,” says Rick.

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