Opinion: Renters deserve homes too

Housing rental
The worst thing about being a renter is the uncertainty, says Mike Roke. Photo credit: Getty file

OPINION: The worst thing about being a renter is not the fact you're paying someone else's mortgage or the cost of rent. It is not that you have to get permission to get things fixed, or the interminable wait for that fix to happen. It is not even the indignity of a property manager coming through you home every three months to make sure you are not a meth cook.

It's the uncertainty.

The uncertainty you have when your lease term is about to expire, and not knowing what your landlord's intentions are because they don't need to tell you.

I applaud Gareth Morgan and The Opportunities Party for the policy they have announced to secure long term renting and improve rental homes. It will help bring a fairer balance between landlords and tenants.

Watch Newshub's State of the Parties video about The Opportunities Party:

As it stands right now the landlord/tenant relationship leans far too heavily in favour of the landlord. Being able to move a family on for no particular reason is simply not fair.

A landlord is not legally required to renew or extend a fixed-term tenancy as long as they give the tenant a minimum of 21 days' notice before the end of the tenancy.

That gives the tenant three weeks to find a new place to move to, pack up their house and get out.

Three weeks! How on earth, in this overly competitive rental environment, is that realistic?

Bear in mind most people work weekdays so that leaves evenings and weekends to get everything done. Also bear in mind that moving house is expensive. Most will require you to front up with three weeks' bond and two weeks' rent to move into a place - and you don't get your bond back from the previous place in time to help with that.

Here is a fact - 60 percent of homes are rentals and given the current housing market, that number will only head in one direction - and it ain't down.

Here is another fact - most tenants are good people.

Yes there are people out there cooking meth, having loud parties every week and trashing places, but they are by far the minority.

A massive majority of renters are hardworking, honest people who will keep a house tidy, mow the lawns and pull the weeds.

These are the people that deserve more certainty than a 12 month fixed-term tenancy provides. They deserve to be able to put family photos up on the walls. They deserve to be able to paint a kid's bedroom a nice bright colour. They deserve to not have to face rent rises every six months. They deserve to be able to call the house they live in, their home.

A long-term tenancy should be 10+ years. A minor house improvement should be allowable, and a picture should be allowed to be hung up with no sideways look. It works well in Europe, so there is no reason it can't work here.

If you are a landlord reading this and think it is complete lunacy, I suggest you care only about your house and not the people living in it. Maybe being a property investor is not for you.

Mike Roke is a technical producer for RadioLIVE Drive with Ali Mau, weekdays from 3-6pm.

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