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.…More

Will the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill improve our rental housing?

The Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill no.2 amends the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). Introduced by the Labour Party back in 2015, it is currently being considered by the Government Administration Select Committee. Over the next couple of months, this Bill is likely to be in the news again as the select committee hears oral submissions. This Bill is…More

“Housing is central to understanding what’s happening in capitalism today” – An interview with Brett Christophers

Brett Christophers is professor at the Department of Social and Economic Geography and the Institute for Housing and Urban Research at Uppsala University, Sweden. His most recent book, The Great Leveler: Capitalism and Competition in the Court of Law (Harvard University Press, 2016), provides a theoretical and historical examination of the relationship between competition and monopoly in…More

Why are renters not rising up?

Noting the poor conditions in New Zealand’s rental sector, the New Zealand Herald columnist Deborah Hill Cone recently asked: Why are renters not rising up? Why is there not a more vocal and activist tenants’ lobby group? Actually, renters are rising up. There are tenants groups pushing for change. For example, Wellington Renters United have put out a…More

A better tax system for better renting

There are a number of things that come up when people discuss how to improve the experience of renting in New Zealand. We usually talk about what changes we can make to our residential tenancies laws and norms, to provide for longer, more secure tenancies, better quality housing, and housing which is more affordable. Such…More

Working for better rental housing in New Zealand

This is a repost of a piece written for the magazine of the International Union of Tenants – a brief introduction to some of the problems of renting in New Zealand. For the third of New Zealand households that rent, it can be difficult to find a warm, dry, secure and affordable rental home. Housing…More

“Patronizing pieces of politics” – An interview with Paul Cheshire

Paul Cheshire, an economist, is Emeritus Professor of Economic Geography at the London School of Economics. Alongside his academic work, he advises governments and international organisations; recently, he advised New Zealand’s Productivity Commission on its inquiry into using land for housing. I interviewed Professor Cheshire about his latest book, co-authored with Henry Overman and Max…More

Will this Bill improve our rental housing?

The government wants to make some changes to New Zealand’s Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), the law that governs the relationship between tenant and landlord. Under the draft Bill, landlords will be required to insulate their homes and install smoke alarms. That’s good, right? Yes and no. Smoke alarms and insulation are a good thing. But…More

“Building is not a panacea” – An interview with Danny Dorling

This is an interview with Danny Dorling, Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford, about his book, All that is Solid: How the Great Housing Disaster Defines Our Times and What We Can Do About It. The book describes problems – including homelessness, indebtedness, poor quality housing, high housing costs, housing insecurity, and evictions…More