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How ‘pro-tenant’ are no-cause terminations?

2 May, 2023

Green Party candidate Gina Dao-Mclay and National Organiser at Renters United Eimhin O’Shea claim the National Party’s proposed tenancy changes would only serve landlords. Photo: Canva. 

Interviews by Caeden Tipler, adapted by Ashley Rose-Redstone

Listen to the full interviews

The National Party has proposed reintroducing no-cause terminations of tenants from rental properties, should they be elected.

Currently, tenant terminations are required to fit the criteria outlined in the amended Residential Tenancies Act 1986. However, National’s policy would remove this step in the process.

National party housing spokesperson Chris Bishop stated that the move would be “pro-tenant”, sparking protests from renters.

Green party candidate for Porirua, Gina Dao-Mclay, told 95bFM's The Wire that, especially during a housing crisis, the policy would be “problematic” and only serve landlords.

Bishop claimed the proposal had the support of groups working with the homeless. However, Dao-Mclay argued that renters were unlikely to share the same view.

They argued Aotearoa suffers from a shortage of standardised healthy rental properties and that implementing no-cause terminations could deprive renting individuals and families of safe housing.

“There is a difference between people who work with those who are in precarious housing situations versus those who are directly impacted by this.”

National Organiser at Renters United Eimhin O’Shea told The Wire that enforcing the policy will not help homelessness and would make it difficult for renters to assert their rights. 

He emphasised that the proposal would further imbalance the power between tenants and landlords and create unstable living situations.

“The only reason why this change would be good is if you are trying to extract the absolute most amount of profit at the expense of human beings. “

“This is not going to help anyone, especially our most vulnerable, the people they claim it is going to help.”

O’Shea pushed that there needs to be a shift towards how Aotearoa views renters.

Commonly, renting is seen as a transitory action towards home-owning. However, O’Shea highlighted that amidst the current housing crisis, more people are forced to rent long-term.

He said renters in Aotearoa are frequently treated as “second-class citizens”, claiming that the Tenancy Tribunal often favours landlords and property managers, which makes it difficult for tenants to enforce regulations within the property.

“The housing crisis is not caused by renters having more rights, the housing crisis is caused by a severe undersupply of housing. These changes will only make renters' lives worse.”

Dao-Mclay proposed that Aotearoa set rent controls to ensure more rental properties follow healthy home standards.

They argued that the current renting structure is inequitable and that private entities benefit from a lack of public housing available in the market.