2017 Policy #12 – Reform of the Tenancy Act

The Opportunities Party (TOP) wants to ensure people have decent housing, regardless of whether they rent or own.

Tax Reform

Our current taxation system punishes tenants and workers, and favours those who own their own home. TOP’s tax reform will make sure that the tax system treats owners and tenants fairly. It is focused on ensuring the owners of assets pay their fair share of tax. This change will raise up to $11b in revenue and enable a cut in income tax rates for everyone by up to one third. Housing affordability will be improved over time. Taxing assets will also encourage land bankers to develop their land and build more houses.  In the big cities it will encourage higher density housing.

Real Rights for Renters

TOP’s tax reform will eventually restore housing affordability. However, this needs to be done slowly to avoid an economic crash akin to what we have seen overseas. In the mean time, we need to make renting a viable option for the generation of young people that has been priced out of home ownership.

TOP will change the regulations around residential tenancy law to match the German approach. Under this model the default standard lease makes it far easier for a tenant to remain in the premises long term. This will be achieved by restricting the conditions under which a landlord can evict a tenant to those of non-payment of rent or property damage. Sale of a property is not necessarily a legitimate reason for eviction. Most crucially this will provide tenant families with the long-term security hitherto offered only to those who buy their own home. This is a massive improvement in housing as a social good – irrespective of whether it is owned-occupied or not.

Better Quality Housing

TOP will restore the Emissions Trading Scheme, raising the price of carbon and reinvesting the proceeds in improving the insulation and energy efficiency of all homes. This will be backed up by a rental Warrant of Fitness and improved building standards.

Social Housing

We desperately need to improve the quantity and quality of social housing. TOP will expand the supply of social and affordable rental housing provided by not-for-profit organisations. We will achieve this by gifting Housing NZ stock to these community housing providers, giving them the equity and land they need to invest in expanding social housing and at-cost rental housing stock.

Housing should be a vital part of our infrastructure as a nation, not a get-rich-quick scheme. Our changes will ensure all families have access to warm, affordable, secure housing. This will reap dividends in the decades to come through lower health, crime and welfare costs, and better education and employment outcomes.