Rent­ing must im­prove, sem­i­nar told

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Dreams of home own­er­ship are too far out of reach for most Auck­lan­ders and its time to grow up, move on and bet­ter the rent­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

That’s the mes­sage from hous­ing ex­perts, who ad­dressed a fo­rum in Auck­land on Tues­day on the im­por­tance of im­prov­ing the ten­ant ex­pe­ri­ence.

Economist Shamubeel Eaqub says rent­ing prob­lems are no longer an is­sue just for the mi­nor­ity. ‘‘The rental mar­ket is de­signed for stu­dent flat­ters. It is no sur­prise that it is the young cou­ples with chil­dren who are most un­happy.’’

The typ­i­cal ten­ancy in New Zealand lasts just 10 months and re­search shows that pri­vate rental hous­ing is in poorer con­di­tion than ei­ther so­cial hous­ing or houses which are owne­roc­cu­pied.

All ten­ants needed long term se­cu­rity, per­mis­sion to make al­ter­ations and the abil­ity to own pets with­out land­lord con­sent, he says.

‘‘It costs almost twice as much to own than to rent.

‘‘But you can not com­pare the two. You sim­ply do not get the same ex­pe­ri­ence in rent­ing as in own­ing your own home.’’

Eaqub says though rental houses pro­vide shel­ter they can not be called homes.

Hous­ing costs are ris­ing much faster than rents and most Auck­lan­ders will not be able to meet the costs of home own­er­ship, au­thor of Invest and Pros­per, David Whit­burn says.

‘‘We need to grow up a lit­tle bit there. It’s a valid choice to rent.’’

Whit­burn be­lieves prop­erty spec­u­la­tors need to be taxed if they sell a house fewer than 10 years after buy­ing it and the uni­tary plan needs tweak­ing.

‘‘If we are to build a closer com­pact Auck­land, if you are to build up and not out, we do need to think.’’

Auck­land coun­cil deputy mayor Penny Hulse says own­ing a home brings with it con­no­ta­tions of suc­cess.

‘‘You have your part of Auck­land. You are some­one.

‘‘You have a stake in so­ci­ety when you own a house. But it’s no longer an op­tion for peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate in this way and nor should we be driv­ing it as the way for­ward.’’

Hulse says more than 5000 units a year are needed in Auck­land to keep up with pop­u­la­tion growth.

About 400 peo­ple showed up to the fo­rum dis­cus­sion en­ti­tled "What’s wrong with rent­ing?’’.

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