Barry Soper is Newstalk ZB's Political Editor

Barry Soper: Finding balance between ratbag landlords and party animals

1.5 million Kiwis now live in rental accommodation. Photo / File
1.5 million Kiwis now live in rental accommodation. Photo / File

Few would argue that there aren't ratbag landlords out there who need pulling into line.

All too often tenants are given little notice to vacate and for those with a family the upheaval isn't just about finding another place to rent.

And that's behind a bill being proposed by the Greens' Metiria Turei. She wants landlords to be required to give three months' notice to a tenant to quit if they want to sell a property.

She also wants tenants to have the first right of refusal if their tenancy agreement is up for renewal and wants a limit on rent rises.

All very laudable if you're one of the 1.5 million Kiwis who now live in rental accommodation.

We now apparently have the lowest home ownership rate since 1951. And those who have recently become homeowners are heavily in debt - we're told by the Reserve Bank that the average mortgage to a first-home buyer is nudging $400,000, which if you're on the average wage means the lender gets most of your income, leaving diddly squat for anything else.

Still, it seems we remain committed to bricks and mortar even though for many it will now forever be unattainable.

And that brings us back to Turei's argument of giving the tenant a fair go, which few would argue with, particularly if they've never been a landlord.

But for those of us who have rented out a home it's not always a case of sitting back, raking in the rent and watching the bank balance grow.

In most cases tenants are responsible people just wanting to get on with their lives and they should be allowed to without an overbearing landlord.

But for a property owner it can be a nightmare, watching their investment being trashed, knowing that removing the vandal is an involved process.

Property management companies are the new growth industry, with many of them putting tenants into properties and forgetting them while watching their bank balances grow on the backs of the landlord.

They've sold the tenants to the owner as young "professionals" whereas in fact they're party animals breaking up furniture on the deck, as the party rages, and throwing it on to the neighbour's roof below.

They've crammed more of their mates into the house than it was rented for while the black bags of rubbish are left unattended beneath the swarm of flies.

You're left with the choice of waiting for the tenancy agreement to expire and after giving the required notice, the commercial cleaners are brought in to restore the place to some sort of order while the tenants leave, fortunately without their bond, to trash another unsuspecting owner's home.

They'll likely go to the same property manager for the same reference while the manager takes in their commission from the next landlord.

Property ownership for rent isn't for the faint-hearted, but for some of us it simply isn't worth the heartache. That's not to say that the vast majority of tenants aren't respectful of the place they call home.

The point is the argument cuts both ways.

- Newstalk ZB

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 29 Apr 2017 12:54:34 Processing Time: 680ms