How to prevent a landlord from renting out a shoddy house

Much of New Zealand’s rental housing is in poor condition (44%, according to BRANZ). The intuitive associations between poor housing and poor health are backed up by research, some of which I’ve discussed previously. This state of affairs indicates that current law does not protect renters from harmful housing; it’s for this reason that a rental Warrant…More

The problem of “horror tenants” is dwarfed by that of horror houses

Reposted from Public Address Yesterday’s Herald piece, “Horror tenants frustrate landlord“, was its most popular throughout the day. The article is about “horror tenants”, or, as this landlord describes them, “pigs”. The “renters as pigs” genre is clearly a popular one, and includes TV shows such as Renters, which warns the viewer against even living…More

Framing displacement in Glen Innes

This is a repost from Public Address. Last night, TVNZ reported on two things: one state tenant’s vow to resist eviction from her Glen Innes home, and overcrowding in Auckland state houses. While both things are newsworthy, we should be wary of thinking that one causes the other. TVNZ’s framing – and, actually, the government’s…More

State tenants and the right to the city

This is reposted from Public Address.  Last week, the Social Services Committee criticised how Housing New Zealand has gone about the redevelopment of three areas of state housing. It’s about time. By the accounts of the communities of Maraenui, Pomare and Glen Innes, what’s happening looks very different from the glossy photos on the redevelopment websites. It looks like boarded-up…More

End of a (state housing) era

Housing Minister Nick Smith has just announced a new “entity” within Treasury to transfer some of our 69,000 state houses to private organisations (coincidentally, on the same day as retrospective legislation on how housing trusts are taxed has had to be introduced). This is something we knew was coming since the Government eagerly greeted the Housing…More

Some thoughts on housing in New Zealand’s 2014 Budget

Housing didn’t get too much attention in this year’s Budget. The government had already signaled the increase of funds to community housing organisations. The actual amount given to them, compared to what they need to build to fill demand, is something I’ve yet to untangle. It’s also no surprise to see money allotted to MSD…More

Housing policy will destabalise life for children

Note: This piece is by Elinor Chisholm and Philippa Howden-Chapman and was published today  in the Dominion Post.  High transience rates for children at our poorest schools are, as the Dominion Post reported, a huge problem for children and teachers. Continuity of education and supportive relationships with teachers are critical for children’s educational performance. “Churn” is…More

Despite what you read, state tenants do not cheat the system

There has been welcome attention in recent days on the stigma attached to being a beneficiary in New Zealand. As Catriona McLennan explained in the Herald on Saturday, beneficiaries are discriminated against, and their fraud is disproportionately punished. She cites UK research showing that distorted media coverage of benefit issues results in distorted public perceptions: people imagine…More

There goes the neighbourhood: a look at reducing state housing in communities

One of Housing New Zealand’s goals is that “No community will have more than 15 percent state housing presence” [1]. I don’t know exactly what that means.  There is no standard definition of a community. There’s a great deal of difference between reducing the proportion of state housing in a block, in a neighbourhood, or…More