Why should you care about politics? The New Zealand political system doesn’t seem to prioritise students and the issues that are directly affecting them. It’s easy to become very disinterested with the whole idea of learning about and becoming involved with politics.
In an unexpected turn of events Phil Twyford, current Housing Minister, has put forward a proposal to change, abolish, and reform a “suite of rental law changes”. This may seem like a bunch of fancy words that don’t benefit students at all, but this reform impacts students the most.
The main changes this proposal, and Twyford, are hoping to make include a law change introducing a limit on rent increases, stopping no-cause terminations, and a ban on ‘rent bidding’.
This proposal is currently a discussion paper for consultation and wouldn’t come into law until 2020, but that’s only 18 months away. The essence of this proposal is to increase economic security for tenants and to level the playing field against landlords.
Some of you may remember, and could have been affected, by prospective tenants trying to outbid each other at the beginning of this year. This meant that it put people without a large amount of extra money at a disadvantage as other people were outbidding them. For example, a flat could have been listed as being $500 per fortnight for three bedrooms and Group A offers that price, but Group B with the same credentials as Group A offer $650 to the landlord to try and ensure that they get the flat.
Twyford’s proposal would completely ban this so that tenants are chosen for their personalities, records, and references. I think this is an amazing proposal as it shows the government listened to the stories that were coming out about rental problems. It also kind of demonstrates, at least with this instance, that the things negatively affecting students are of concern to the government.
The proposal also argues for rent increases to be made only once per year and to stop ‘no-cause’ terminations. This would mean that tenants, if following contracts correctly, will have increased security knowing that their rent can’t go up every six months and that thy can’t be kicked out for no reason.
This proposal does not cover people who damage the property, are late on rent, or any other violations to the contract. The proposal is meant for the majority of us who rent and to give more security in where we live. Another point within the proposal that has been mentioned is that there could be an increase of properties allowed pets.
It’s exciting to have a government that ii listening and paying attention to the issues students face as it encourages more participation within politics, which leads to a more robust democracy.