Single ladies and the housing market

In the important new book, No country for old maids? Talking about the ‘man drought‘, one of the issues author Hannah August puts her brilliant mind to is the disadvantages faced by single women in obtaining housing. She discusses “singlism”, a word coined by American social psychologist Bella DePaulo to describe discrimination against single people.…More

“You shouldn’t have to become an MP to get a house to live in”

Today, New Zealand’s newest MP, Green Marama Davidson, gave her maiden speech in Parliament. It’s a remarkable speech in many ways, but this is a blog about housing, so I wanted to draw attention to the bit where she talks about the search for a rental home prior to and after becoming an MP (MPs based…More

Would a statutory right to housing make a difference to homelessness?

Thirty-four thousand people in New Zealand are homeless, or severely housing deprived: they crowd in to friends’ homes, stay in campgrounds, boarding houses, garages or cars, and live on the street.1[i] The Child Poverty Action Group is currently calling for the government to address homeless through instituting “a statutory right to be housed”. This is…More

England’s new regulations to protect tenants from retaliatory evictions

Tenant organisations in England are celebrating new regulations which give renters new protection – protection which New Zealand renters already have, and which has recently been extended. It’s a good time to reflect on that protection and its limitations. Private tenants have the right to live in homes that meet certain standards. If tenants’ houses are…More

Minor changes to existing provisions!

Something crazy happens at the moment. A tenant takes her landlord to the Tenancy Tribunal because it’s below legal standards: it’s damp, for example. The Tenancy Tribunal concludes, “yes, that’s illegal”. The Tribunal can order the landlord to bring the property up to standard. But the landlord can decline to do so. In that case,…More

How high is the rent?

A couple of weeks ago, the worrying issue of high rents in Christchurch came to renewed attention when Trademe reported that rents had risen 14% in Christchurch over the past year. Minister of Housing Nick Smith disputed the figures, and said that according to data from the Tenancy Bond Service and the Consumer Price Index,…More

What to do about renting

There’s a lot of bad press about renters. At one end of the extreme there’s Renters, a show about “the dirtiest, dimmest and most despicable renters imaginable” which warns you against even living next door to any one who rents. There’s the bank by my house, encouraging me to get a mortgage by showing a photo…More

The sale of council housing in Hamilton

From next week, community housing providers have the option of purchasing Hamilton City Council pensioner housing. What does this mean for the future of social housing in Hamilton? Social housing (housing provided at below market rents) in New Zealand is provided by the government (through Housing New Zealand), councils, and a number of community housing…More