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Labour's policies favouring tenants might not be as they appear for renters, landlords warn

Canterbury Property Investors Association members say Labour's policies will negatively affect the rental market.  Laura Cunningham

Canterbury Property Investors Association (CPIA) president Stephen East says Labour's renting policies would decrease options and empty renters back pockets.

Christchurch's residential rental market is different to other New Zealand cities, with supply far outweighing demand. 

Canterbury Property Investors Association (CPIA) President Stephen East said landlords were dropping rents in order to secure tenants. 

"[Christchurch] investors aren't out there in their droves buying properties, not by a long stretch of the imagination".

Uncertainty in the market meant landlords would have welcomed a National-led government, whereas Labour's policies created more doubts. 

Tenants should be worried about Labour's policies, he said. 

East said Labour's stricter compliances and new regulations for landlords such as the Healthy Homes Bill and a Rental Warrant of Fitness would make landlords think twice about being in the market. 

Rental supply would drop and people would pay more for homes under Labour's policies. 

East said it was unfair and unhelpful to the market that Labour focused so heavily on benefitting tenants over landlords. 

"There's got to be a balance there, somewhere along the line."

East said National's policy that would make it easier to prosecute tenants for careless damage was needed. 

Property investor Claire Wilson said she would seriously consider "selling quite a few properties" now NZ First had gone with Labour. 

She said Labour's introduction of a healthy homes bill and a warrant of fitness on rentals would mean increased rent. 

Watch or read more from Stephen East and CPIA members: 

Tenants Protection Agency (Auckland) coordinator Angela Maynard said they were very happy with Labour's proposed rental policies. 

She said Labour's policy to abolish 'no cause' evictions will give security of tenure.

Maynard said National's policies that allowed landlords to evict tenants at any time has given landlords "the ultimate power and flexibility" for too long. 

Housing Spokesman Phil Twyford said a Labour government would not make things worse for the property market. 

The rental market was not working properly because of New Zealand's "archaic" rental policies. 

Twyford said Labour's focus was skewed towards tenants because renters deserved better conditions. 

"What we've aimed to do is modernise rental laws that currently make life a misery for half of New Zealand that rent."

Housing Minister Nick Smith said both tenants and landlords needed to be treated equally and "demonising either group does little good".