How to make reasonable rent rules work

There are some important things that would make reasonable rent rules work.

  1. The Government needs a good database of landlords, properties, and rents, so rules can be applied fairly and accurately.

  2. Rents for individual homes need to be reasonably consistent when their tenants change, so landlords can’t push tenants out just to put the rent up.

  3. The obligation to show why a large rent increase is fair should sit with the landlord, rather than the current system where tenants have to take their landlord to the Tenancy Tribunal to prove a rent increase isn’t fair.

  4. An independent agency with a mandate to enforce the rules. This could include representatives of tenants and landlords.

  5. Standard maintenance and upkeep, or meeting minimum quality standards like the Healthy Homes standards, shouldn’t justify a large rent increase. But landlords should be able to cover the cost of genuinely substantial improvements, like a whole new upgraded kitchen.

  6. Short term property speculation should be discouraged, but people and organisations who build new homes to rent out on a stable, long-term basis should be able to cover their investment over a reasonable period of time.

  7. Governments need to make sure new homes keep being built, faster. This includes building many more state homes, supporting papakāinga, working with non-profit community housing providers, and enabling infrastructure.

As well as reasonable rent rules, moving to longer-term tenancy agreements as the default would give people greater housing security. Some people want to move around a lot, but many want to make their rented house a long-term home.