Already rents are high................................

Already rents are high............................

Already rents are high and we know there is a real struggle out there to keep up with them considering the cost of living is also increasing and wages aren’t.

 There has to be a tipping point sometime but to the detriment of who ?  There appear to be a lot more properties becoming available for rent but the cost is still a large part of a household income. The type of household you live in makes a huge difference to rent affordability. For example a two parent family earning the average income ($55000/year according to StatsNZ) or a group of flatmates all contributing to the rent will find it easier to manage.  For those single parent families and older people living alone it isn’t that doable.  We often see tenants who struggle with their rent and then have a crisis, rent doesn’t get paid and their tenancy is terminated through the Tribunal. We advocate strongly to “Pay your rent first” – but when a crisis happens or there are needs such as school costs at the beginning of the year sometimes rent isn’t given priority. Often the tenants we work with can’t access Work and Income assistance because they earn just above the annual income threshold required.  Work and Income will assist those earning below a specific annual income and they also have some other criteria clients are required to meet. This also includes accommodation supplement which is assistance paid weekly to help meet the costs of renting.

How as a society do we stand back and let this happen? Let people get further and further dragged down by everyday living so much so that when they hit rock bottom they have nowhere to go because they don’t meet agency criteria or thresholds.  The tenants we often work with have, in good faith, thought they could clear their rent arrears but this is a difficult thing to do because of the amount of money often involved. Some that could access the assistance choose not to jump through the hoops expected because they find the process difficult and sometimes soul destroying. Tenants aren’t always aware that if they are 21 days or more in rent arrears at the time a Landlord makes a tribunal application to end the tenancy, the adjudicator often has no option but to end the tenancy. And the bond is then given to the Landlord to cover some of the arrears. The tenant ends up with very short notice (sometimes 48 hours) to leave the property and no bond to take to the next tenancy. 

What needs to happen? This is such a multi pronged issue that one solution won’t fix everything. TPA have long been saying rent stabilisation needs to come into place to stop rents increasing out of control. This has problems for landlords who are facing increasing insurance and interest costs, and also those landlords who have brought on an inflated market so the line between their mortgage and the rent being charged is very thin. However tenants can’t go on paying a large percentage of their income in rent.

Contact Details

Tenants Protection Association (ChCh) Inc
Te Tōpū Tiaki-ā-Kainoho
Room 3, 301 Tuam Street, Christchurch 8011
Ph.(03) 379-2297

info [at] tpa [dot] org [dot] nz (subject: Enquiry%20from%20Website)