Renters United launches campaign demanding politicians stop rent prices increasing

Renters United launches campaign demanding politicians stop rent prices increasing
Photo credit: Getty Images

Renters United is calling on politicians to stop rent prices increasing, saying they're becoming "unaffordable" in New Zealand.

Renters United wants "immediate and long-term action" to end steep rent increases and is calling for action on fair rent.

It comes ahead of its 'Fair Rent Now' campaign launch, where it will send an open letter to politicians with steps it believes will help making renter easier and more affordable, Renters United organiser Aaron Packard says.

The launch was due to happen on Wednesday, however in light of New Zealand entering alert levels 2 and 3 it has been postponed.

It follows the passing of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill in Parliament last week, which removes rental bidding and changes the period for rental increases to 12 months.

The most significant change will see 'no cause evictions' disappear. Currently, landlords can give tenants a 90-day eviction notice on open-ended tenancies without saying why.

Under the new law, the landlord would have to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal and give three examples of bad behaviour from tenants from a three-month period.

Renters United believes successive governments have "turned a blind eye" as rents have climbed higher and outstripped wage growth.

"Unaffordable rents affect all renters. For aspiring homeowners, it diverts income away from saving for a deposit." 

"For those on low incomes, it forces impossible choices between paying the bills, feeding themselves and their family, and losing their home," the letter says.

"We therefore demand all parties commit to action - both immediate and long-term - to address our housing crisis and support the renters who bear the brunt of it."

It points to Auckland and Wellington as hot spots for high rents. According to, the median rent in Auckland Central as of June 30 is $540 per week, and in Wellington City it's $550 per week. Its data is based on 'new' rental prices, which is the rent when tenants move into a property. It doesn't track rents of renewals on existing houses.

Associate Housing Minister Kris Faafoi previously said the RTA changes would ensure the nearly one-third of New Zealanders who live in rental properties could set down roots in their community.

"This Bill aligns New Zealand's rental laws with the present day realities of renting in New Zealand, it ensures there are appropriate protections in place for both renters and for landlords."

It also allows tenants to make minor changes to their rental properties, such as hanging pictures or baby proofing homes.

"It's simply not appropriate in 2020 for a person to be required to leave their home without knowing why. Landlords will be able to terminate tenancies for a range of fair and justified reasons, such as anti-social behaviour, or someone who is repeatedly behind on their rent," Faafoi said.

The National Party voted against the legislation, and MP Alfred Ngaro suggested it should be called the "I hate landlords Bill".

Renters United's proposed changes are:

  • building "tens of thousands" of new state, council and community homes
  • building "tens of thousands" of new affordable for-purchase homes to help renters get into ownership
  • introduce economic incentives and sanctions that together would force the replacement of the worst of private rental homes
  • limit rent increases to no more than inflation
  • new rents should be set within a reasonable range of the median rent of comparable houses in the area