Tenancy reforms, tax changes would go under National

Getting rid of the Government’s tenancy law reforms and tax changes that impact on rental property owners are a key feature of the National Party’s new housing policy.

National Party leader Judith Collins

However, the party’s plans to scrap the Resource Management Act (RMA) and build more housing, including social housing, are the true centrepiece of the policy.

Launched today, the policy aims to help New Zealanders secure their financial future by allowing more renters and social housing tenants to get a foot on the property ladder.

National Party leader Judith Collins says home ownership is an important part of our social fabric.

“It helps give people financial security, helps families build roots in their communities and gives parents a valuable asset to pass on to their children.”

But the dream of home ownership has slipped further away from many and New Zealand is turning into a nation of renters, she says.

If elected, National aims to fix this by addressing the country’s planning rules and opening up more land for housing.

To do so, it would repeal the RMA in its first term and replace it with new legislation (an Environmental Standards Act and a Planning and Development Act) that allows more houses to be built at a faster pace.

Collins says this is a long-term solution which will deliver clarity and speed rather than the present murkiness, expense and delay.

But National’s housing spokesperson Jacqui Dean says a more immediate solution is also needed for the housing emergency that New Zealand has right now.

In order to address it, National would pass emergency legislation within 100 days, similar to that used for the Christchurch rebuild.

The legislation would require all councils to immediately open up 30 years of growth for urban development and establish a fast-tracked consenting process.

However, for landlords, it is National’s plans for the rental market which are likely to be of most interest.

Dean says National would fix New Zealand’s broken rental market by simplifying recently introduced unwieldly rental regulations so that it is easier for landlords to comply.

It pledges to do so by removing ring-fencing of rental losses for tax purposes, cutting the bright line test from five years back to two years, and repealing the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act.

While the party does support the Healthy Homes standards which aim to ensure everyone has a warm dry home, it would simplify the requirements to make it clearer and simpler for landlords to comply.

“This will stop good landlords from fleeing the market due to cost, bringing down the cost of rents and ensuring there are enough rental properties on the market to meet demand.”

Additionally, National would allow social housing tenants with good track-records to buy their homes through a rent-to-own or shared equity scheme.

It would also empower Community Housing Providers to build more social houses by setting aside $1 billion from Kāinga Ora’s borrowing facility for them to access.

NZ Property Investors Federation president Andrew King says they are extremely pleased that National is looking to provide more homes for tenants, while better protecting New Zealanders from living next to antisocial tenants.

Plans to remove ring fencing of rental losses, change the bright line test from five years to two years and repeal legislation banning 90-day no-cause eviction notices are a good move as they are a tremendous disincentive for people to provide rental property, he says.

“National’s measures will encourage more people to provide rental properties which will be a welcome relief to all those tenants in emergency housing or struggling to find suitable rental accommodation.”

Read the National Party’s housing policy here

Read more:

Labour plans to regulate property managers 

Greens propose more landlord regulations 

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