My thoughts on rental housing
Opinion contributed by Lee Badham, Tauranga
Firstly, no matter what the law says, until the supply/demand ration is sorted, is basically the opposite of the current rental market, then both tenants and landlords know that tenants basically must put up with whatever their landlord wants because they have no option. There is such a lack of rental properties available.
The Government is building houses and committed to building more BUT they could ALSO buy up MANY suitable properties that come to the market and rent them out as state rentals. This would QUICKLY, simply and relatively inexpensively add to the rental housing stocks. The important thing here is that it can start happening tomorrow, alongside the building of new housing stock.
They can be any size property as there can be situations where elderly folk actually find their family sized house has become a burden to them and they can be moved to a one or two-bedroom house or unit. Similarly, families crowded into one and two-bedroom properties can move to the larger property vacated by the older person. It would only require setting up a registry of who needs what and where and then administrating it.
Secondly, there needs to be an agency, plus a website or similar where tenants can enter what they are seeking in terms of a rental property. They can also upload references and the like - a place where landlords can also go when seeking a new tenant. Trade Me could also help by having a Rental Accommodation Wanted category. The agency also needs to employ paid, full-time and part-time, experienced Tenant advocates, preferably other tenants or former tenants, to inform tenants of their rights, answer their queries etc. This agency MUST stand completely apart from any landlords service.