Duncan Garner: The Government needs a landlord strategy

OPINION: Demand for rental properties is soaring across the country, it's not uncommon for up to 50 people to view one house across a one hour window and that can only mean one thing - prices are skyrocketing.

It's what this Government said it wanted to address, but once again market forces have been too big, too strong. They win and the Government is left scrambling, coming up with all sorts of promises, hope, ambition, but the reality bites and it's biting hard. 

Trademe says in June there was a 20 percent jump in enquiries people wanting to rent. But are we building rentals? Not like we should. 

Anecdotally, landlords appear grumpy and want out, too hard, too expensive, the price of everything is going up. Fixed wall heaters, insulation, warrants of fitness, the tenant having too much power.

There's only one rent rise a year, ring-fencing has gone, where are the incentives to be landlords? They're seen as "rich pricks" as Michael Cullen would say, slumlords to others. 

But they provide a service. We need investors, we need mum and dad investors, mum and dad investing, not cutting and running. We need them to be buying flats, building houses to house the people. Landlords are the forgotten people. 

Now, back to that 20 percent jump in rental enquiries. Disturbingly, Trademe says there are also almost 10 percent fewer rental properties available. Average rents remain locked at $500 a week - that's already a record price and new record prices are expected in the coming months.

Southland prices are up 45 percent, Whanganui up 33 percent. Enquiries in the bay of Plenty are up 47 percent on last year.

We simply have to get this right, this Government needs a landlord strategy and incentives to build. Where is it?

Duncan Garner is the host of The AM Show.