Housing Minister Phil Twyford’s knee-jerk and uninformed decision to reform the Residential Tenancy Act will cause renters to pay even more and won’t solve any problems, National’s Housing spokesperson Judith Collins says.

“If Mr Twyford thinks Government price controls will stop tenants paying more for rent, he’s being naive.

“By limiting rent increases to once a year, landlords will be forced to raise rents higher and sooner, meaning tenants will actually be paying the same or more in the long run.

“If a landlord now wants to sell their property, they will have to wait 90 days, meaning settlements of sales will be extended by double.

“But if the tenant leaves the property before the 90 days is up, the landlord will end up with an empty house waiting for a buyer.

“It is not clear whether the bond can be raised at the same time as the single rent increase – so even more costs could be put on the tenant.

“On top of this the Government has a Bill currently at Select Committee that prohibits the charging of letting fees on rental properties.

“This has been criticised by the real estate industry and various stakeholders because letting fees are required for agents to work on behalf of the property owner.

“It is likely the cost of the letting fee will be passed onto the tenant in the form of higher rents – a double whammy of rent increases.

“This Government has shown how its poor policies end up costing Kiwi families – who have seen over $100 added to their weekly bills – and they’re going to wear the burden of this as well.

“It is important to strike a good balance between landlords and tenants but so far Mr Twyford’s decisions seem to result in both parties losing out.

“As usual Mr Twyford’s announcement has been made in a vacuum away from reality – he needs to start thinking about the impacts of his vague housing policies and stop loading the costs onto New Zealand families.”

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