Rental advocates "horrified" at landlord threatening to kick renters out on coldest day of the year

Auckland Action Against Poverty slammed the landlord, calling them a "spoiled privileged brat".
Auckland Action Against Poverty slammed the landlord, calling them a "spoiled privileged brat". Photo credit: Facebook @Auckland Action Against Poverty / Twitter

Rental advocates have slammed a Kiwi property investor who said investors should band together to evict their tenants on "the coldest day of the year" in protest of the Government's new housing plan.

The Government announced a raft of new measures on Tuesday to favour first-home buyers amid the rampant housing market.

However, they also introduced several measures including an extension of the bright-line test, which has angered some property investors.

On Tuesday, one landlord posted to Instagram suggesting they protest the changes.

"Problem-solving. If every landlord in New Zealand grouped together as one voice and told the Government that ([as] an example) we are all going to ask our tenants to vacate on say the 20th of July, 2022 (probably the coldest day of the year), as we all want our properties empty to 'renovate', where would the Government house near on half the population in one day," says the post, which appears to have been uploaded on Wednesday.

"That's where investors coming together as one can show the Government what we do is good, needed and helps solve housing for so many people that need it."

But Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP) have slammed the landlord, calling them a "spoiled privileged brat".

"It's hard enough as it is for people and whānau across New Zealand as we have a public housing waitlist of over 20,000 households and some of the highest rents in the world," AAAP wrote in a statement.

"Even people who are working, some families with multiple jobs are struggling to pay rent."

AAAP says it's "unacceptable" - especially in a country "that prides itself on being some kind of egalitarian safe haven."

Christchurch's Tenants Protection Association's manager Penny Arthur says the comment shows the imbalance of power landlords have over tenants.

"The announcements this week were not aimed at tenants so it is unfortunate this landlord has decided to make his tenants the victims of his disgruntlement with the changes," Arthur says.

"It does show the imbalance of power landlords have over tenants that this landlord would make a family homeless at a whim."

But it's not that easy.

Landlords can only terminate periodic tenancies if they give 90 days' notice and take "material steps" towards beginning renovations within 90 days of the termination date, according to the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020.

"The Act contains examples of what "material steps" means, but could include consent for the work, purchasing materials (heat pump, extractor fan, etc)," Arthur says.

They also have to keep all records in relation to the tenancy.

"The Chief Executive can request a copy of records, as well as the landlord being able to be issued infringement notices, or be taken to the Tenancy Tribunal by either the tenant or MBIE."

Arthur adds: "Thankfully, most landlords are sensible and won't unnecessarily end a tenancy to make a political statement".