The action plan includes:
- All rent prices permanently lowered to 25% of the lowest benefit;
- Landlords must provide evidence they're addressing repairs, including accessibility issues, within one week of being notified by tenants;
- Tenants in substandard housing must be appropriately relocated at landlord's expense during major repairs or renovations;
- Minimum tenancy length five years. Tenants may exit at will;
- A permanent end to evictions during cold weather months (May to September), holiday periods, and emergencies such as natural disasters or pandemics;
- Abolish bond and all substitutes. Hand back all bond from landlord to tenant regardless of contract. Costs of repairing any damages will be covered by existing rent payments;
- Pets allowed in all flats, including dogs;
- No entering the property uninvited at all. Flat inspections abolished;
- Landlords cannot ask prospective tenants for credit checks, employment history or any other references; and
- Landlords must provide 365 days’ notice before selling or reoccupying the house.
Tenants’ Action Wellington says any landlord or property manager can make the changes immediately if they choose to, rather than waiting for governmental or legal intervention.
To makes its point, the group will demonstrate on Thursday outside Quinovic, which has managed 100,000 properties since 1988.
The group claims Quinovic, in particular, and other property managers are continuing to profit from a crisis that has left so many New Zealanders without healthy, affordable or secure homes.
Tenants' Action Wellington spokeswoman Anne Campbell says the country is undergoing a housing crisis that has only become worse under successive National and Labour Governments.
“People continue to get sick and even die every winter because their house is too mouldy and damp. House prices are skyrocketing, making it impossible for most people to buy a home. Since there are no limits on how many houses one person can own, some people own more than 50 properties.”
Campbell says more people are now permanent renters, with next to no housing rights or protection. “Landlords and property managers have almost total power over our lives. We are living in damaged housing, paying unreasonable bonds, and enduring landlords and property managers who show up at random.
“Without long-term leases, we have no security about where we live. We are paying sometimes over half our income on rent, and yet we can’t call these homes our own.”
She says it is easy to despair at this dire situation. However, Tenants’ Action believes renters can improve things by questioning the power wielded by landlords and property managers.
“The demonstration will give Quinovic an opportunity, as a high-profile property manager, to implement these demands in its internal policy. This would be a significant gesture to recognise its duty to operate ethically in its position of power over tenants and would set an example that other landlords and property managers can follow,” says Campbell.