I don't know who has it worse - landlords or tenants.

Tenants frequently complain about the rules their landlords require them to follow, the state of their homes and the cost of their rent.

Landlords often complain about managing difficult tenants, how hard it is to evict a problem tenant, late rent and damage to properties.

Like everything in life, perspective comes down to circumstances.


When you're paying someone else to provide housing, you want to feel you're getting your money's worth and having insufficient heating, broken appliances, leaking taps or flaking paint makes you wonder where your money's going.

As a landlord, these things can seem silly - after all, you lived in that house for 30 years with no heat pump and with the dishwasher cord taped up, surely your tenants can handle it as well? After all, you've put a roof over their heads and you've got a mortgage to pay off.

Then there are the horror stories. Landlords who refuse to fix major problems because they know their tenants won't be able to find another property, or tenants who trash a house in the knowledge they'll never get in real trouble for doing so.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford announced a reform of tenancy laws on Monday in an effort to "make life better for renters".

The proposed changes include: Limiting rent increases to once a year; ending cancellations of tenancies without cause while ensuring landlords can still get rid of rogue tenants; and increasing the notice period a landlord must give tenants from 42 days to 90 days.

In response to this announcement, the New Zealand Property Investors' Federation released its own wishlist of changes to tenancy laws, which include: Make tenants responsible for damage they cause; increase the tenant's notice period to six weeks, as it is for landlords; make it an illegal act for tenants to stop paying their rent as soon as they give notice.

It's laudable to try to improve the lives of renters, some of them are doing it tough.

But, so are many landlords.


Finding the right balance between the two will always be a challenge and I don't know if a solution exists that will ever make both groups completely happy.