Tenant advocates help renters access better housing

Last month, an article based on part of my PhD research was published in Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online.[1] For this project, I interviewed tenant advocates: volunteers and professionals who, among other things, advise tenants on their rights, help them negotiate with their landlords, and help them represent their interests at the Tenancy Tribunal.

Tenant advocates, who are a first port of call for tenants experiencing difficulties in their housing situation, proved to provide important insights into the experience of renting in New Zealand. Tenants are confronted with issues of poor housing quality, insecure housing, high rents relative to income, lack of autonomy, and difficulty asserting their legislative rights. These aspects of renting in New Zealand are likely to have adverse effects on health. The research showed that tenant advocates play an important role in supporting tenants to better housing. Their knowledge of the relationship between a landlord and tenant, particularly in times of trouble, means they can provide unique perspectives on policy solutions.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can listen to me discuss this article (and other housing research) with Josiah Branbury on Plains FM. You can also download the article for free.

  1. Chisholm, Elinor, Philippa Howden-Chapman, and Geoff Fougere. 2017. “Renting in New Zealand: Perspectives from Tenant Advocates.” Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online 12 (2). Taylor & Francis: 1–16. doi:10.1080/1177083X.2016.1272471


  1. Lee says:

    Hi Elinor
    I’m wondering please if you know of any course I can undertake on the subject of tenancy law? I am wanting to train to be an advocate for tenants.
    Many thanks for any assistance you may give.

    1. Hi Lee, thanks for your comment. Across the country, Citizens Advice Bureaux, Community Law centres, specific tenant or housing organisations, iwi, and different professional and social service organisations provide forms of tenant advocacy. I recommend you give the Manawatu Tenants Union a call – they are likely to be able to put you in touch with the right people for your part of the country. info@mtu.org.nz and 06-357 7435

  2. Hinewai Sonja Heke says:

    Hi I am seeking an advocate to help and advise about past rental problems and how I could move forward with a rental application, as it has become urgent. I hope you can give me as much advise as possible as well as advocate for me? Thankyou


  3. Tara says:

    Hello mate greeat blog

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