“I am heartened by recent evidence that the Government wants to help landlords and tenants understand each other’s point of view” said Andrew King of the NZ Property Investors’ Federation (NZPIF) after the Labour Party held a public meeting covering the Tenancy Review currently open for public comment on the North Shore of Auckland on Thursday evening.
Local Labour candidate, Shanan Halbert, was the moderator of a four person panel, including documentary maker and author, Bryan Bruce.
There was a surprising level of agreement between the panellists and audience and a recognition that, at the end of the day, most tenants and landlords are good people with good intentions.
Security of tenure was a large topic. Some outspoken tenant groups have strenuously lobbied Government to end 90 day no stated cause notices by landlords. However this would be a big mistake.
As neighbours and other tenants fear retribution from tenants demonstrating antisocial behaviour and are reluctant to put what is happening in writing, it is extremely difficult for rental providers to get sufficient evidence to take a case to the Tenancy Tribunal. A 90 day notice is the often the last and only option that they have to protect neighbours and other tenants.
Thursday night’s panel agreed three to one, including Bryan Bruce, that rental property providers needed the 90 day no stated cause notice to be able to manage the rental effectively.
Panellists also agreed that communication can be a better tool than regulation. They agreed that tenants and landlords had a wide variety of backgrounds, situations and requirements that meant balance was needed in reform if it was to effectively work over the long term without unintended consequences.
One of the slides in a Labour Power Point presentation played before the meeting said the review was looking at “making it easier to get rid of rogue tenants”. The NZPIF hopes that the Government doesn’t just mean listing in the RTA the antisocial behaviour which would be a reason to evict a tenant. This is already in current legislation and misses the point that evidence is sometimes impossible or dangerous to obtain.
In a recent NZPIF membership survey, 86% of respondents didn’t think that the 90 day notice should be removed and 89% didn’t believe the proposed idea to replace it would be suitable.
However it is good that the Government appears to want to help landlords in this area. This attitude and the attitude of Thursday night’s meeting was also evident at the workshops held around the country looking into tenancy reviews. It is heartening to hear that many people can see through the proposal and are aware of the unintended consequences it will introduce.