Greens Want More Landlord Regulation
Rental Warrants of Fitness (WoF) and licensing for landlords and property managers are key elements within the Green Party’s new ‘Homes for All’ housing policy.
1 September 2020
The policy has some ambitious goals, most of which revolve around social housing. One is to deliver enough affordable rental homes to clear the social housing waiting list, which currently numbers 18,000 people, within five years.
Another is to stimulate a sustainable non-profit rental sector by offering Crown financial guarantees for community providers to build new rental properties.
But they also want to “make renting fairer” by requiring landlords to be registered and by extending the current regulatory framework for real estate agents to include property managers.
Further, they want to introduce a WoF for rental properties as an enforcement mechanism. This would require all rental properties to be independently assessed for compliance with the Healthy Homes Standards.
Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson says successive governments have sold off too much social and community housing, while letting the homes they do have fall into disrepair. “They’ve also allowed speculators to over-invest in property, pushing up house prices and leaving too many families struggling with the high cost of rent.”
Housing is a human right and the Green’s plan is a blueprint to ensure everyone is in a warm, dry home, whether they rent or own, she says. For landlords, the Green’s new policies come as no surprise: they have long advocated for rental WoFs and greater regulation of landlords and property managers.
But NZ Property Investors’ Federation executive officer Sharon Cullwick says now is simply not the right time to impose compulsory requirements on landlords.
Requiring landlords to register, and introducing a rental WoF will just create further expenses for landlords and that will end up increasing costs for tenants, she says.
“That’s not the right thing to do in a housing crisis. It will only serve to decrease supply at a time when more supply is needed.” Cullwick also says that good landlords support policies like the Healthy Homes minimum standards, which make rental housing better for tenants, and are working to meet the requirements.
“Rental properties that are far from up to scratch and need lots of work will slowly drop off the market but the Green’s latest proposals won’t help the current situation.”