Rental housing changes would drive landlords away

Proposed changes to rental housing laws could make the housing shortage worse by driving people away from owning rental properties, says National's Housing spokesman, Phil Heatley.

Tuesday, January 31st 2006, 12:00AM

by The Landlord

He is commenting on a report that the Government is working on changes to the Residential Tenancies Act that include lengthening the amount of notice landlords must give, from 90 days to six months or even a year, when selling a property or removing bad tenants.

"If this proposal becomes reality then the housing shortage will be made worse because landlords will be put off letting properties to anyone who could be a credit risk because it will take so long to get rid of them."If we want private landlords to take on higher-risk tenants then we have to make it easier for those landlords, not more difficult. "Doubling or quadrupling the notification period for selling a house makes the idea of owning a rental property more and more difficult. "If lower income people can't afford a house, and higher income people won't take on the risk of a rental property, we're going to end up with more people on the streets," says Mr Heatley. "One way of further encouraging landlords to take on more low-income people would be to make it easier for beneficiaries to have the Accommodation Supplement paid directly to private landlords. "The current criteria for allowing this is far too stringent, and some beneficiaries are not paying their rent themselves, running up huge arrears and scaring off landlords."

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