Exclusive: Major law change good news for state housing tenants

Eighty percent of state housing tenants will no longer be subject to tenancy reviews every three years.

New criteria means tenants with young children, disabilities or who are elderly will no longer need to prove they still need public housing.

Kathleen Paraha is almost 65, and has lived in her state house for 20 years. But having a roof over her head doesn't mean she feels secure.

"I always worry every year, because I'm over 60 and I stay here by myself. I get scared that I'm going to be put out on the street," she explained.

The National government introduced three-yearly tenancy reviews for tenants to make sure they still need state housing. The review process takes six months, sometimes longer.

Ms Paraha says it's stressful for families.

"They think they're gonna get kicked out if they've been in there too long, or if they go and get a job, they think their income's going to put them out of their home they've been in for 20 years."

Exclusive: Major law change good news for state housing tenants
Photo credit: Newshub.

Under the Government's new criteria, public housing tenants exempt from tenancy reviews include:

  • Families with children under 18
  • Those who are 65 or older
  • Those with a disability or health condition
  • Tenants providing full-time care at home for someone other than their partner who would otherwise need hospital level care.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford says the changes will remove unnecessary stress on tenants.

"The stability and security that a state house offers - particularly for a family with young children - is hugely important."

Judith Collins says the National government needed to implement the tenancy reviews because too many people were living in state houses who didn't need them

"But we've probably gone past that now, so it just depends on the times that you're in. We've got now this greatest waiting list that's ever been in Housing New Zealand."

That wait list for social housing is about to hit 9000. Minister Twyford says tenancy reviews will now focus on those who are more likely to take up private rentals, and that will free up homes for those in need.

But with so many waiting for a house, he admits it will only make a minor dent.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: