Many things have changed, but some things remain the same

It is now three months since the earthquake and as i sit here thinking about the work that has been done by the organisation a few truths have become evident. So I thought I’d jot them down.


Although the physical landscape of Christchurch changed considerably after the Earthquakes some things remain the same. Before the Earthquakes there was good and bad behaviour from both tenants and landlords. This has not changed, but what has changed is that behaviours of each group have been seen in the extreme and the resulting acts of compassion or acts of unlawfulness have made it a heightened area in which to advocate.For Tenants Protection, advocacy means walking shoulder to shoulder with tenants, Landlords, Government Departments, Real Estate Agencies and Property Investors to support people to develop the outcome which enables their own self-advocacy to emerge, and from this support and education, encourage them to be informed on their rights and obligations in respect to tenancy, and an ability to strategise and develop own solutions and negotiations.


This increased knowledge and ability for self-advocacy enables individuals and agencies to provide an appropriate flow of information that enhances not hinders resolution. Over the last few months our statistics show not surprisingly a large number of cases involving rent arrears (or rent issues associated with the earthquake), maintenance issues, bond disputes and Notices given under Section 59 of the RTA (uninhabitable), also requests to leave fixed term tenancies, requests for assistance in securing rent and bond advances from Work and Income and, a large number of interagency and M.P. enquiries to TPA requesting help for their clients.


Immediately after the February quake while some housing focused Central Government Departments were conspicuous by their lengthy absence from the front line of tenant enquiries, Tenants Protection was able to respond immediately to the post earthquake situation, numerous television and radio interviews were completed, phone lines were transferred and TPA had an immediate physical presence at The Recovery Centres in Pages and Aldwins Road. Immediate liaison with Landlords and Letting agencies was re-established as we both dealt with an immensely traumatised and vulnerable tenant group.


Of course TPA did not act alone. Our immediate response was supported by Work and Income Linwood at the Linwood Link Office in Aldwins Road. Management and staff (including many out of town support staff) and TPA worked together to deliver the wrap around of service that was timely, essential and client/tenant focused when most needed.


The reason for the immediate and ongoing success of this wrap around of service is based on the commitment of this Central Government Department and an NGO to work together in partnership. This relationship has stood the test. If a review of how Linwood Link is operating is ever needed, look no further than the immediate accommodation of TPA to increase our presence at the front line and the joint response of these two partners during a crisis.


In summary, TPA was able to and continues to deliver its shoulder to shoulder advocacy during this time of uncertainty and challenge. Tenants are able with support, to negotiate their own solutions to their immediate housing issues.


Interagency requests reaffirmed TPA as the first port of call with regard to Tenancy issues as we supported and worked with agencies throughout Christchurch/ Otautahi to deliver sound, practical information.


Because of our previous relationships, our inter-sector liaison with Property Managers was able to develop even further by working together with our tenants to facilitate equitable outcomes for both parties.


Our historical commitment to partnership was further enhanced with those Central Government Agencies who committed to a joint response to the disaster.




Manager Tenants Protection Association

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)