Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Time to freeze rents

For the past few years Renters United has been calling for rent controls to stop gouging landlords. Now, that call has been taken up by the Human Rights Commission:

The Human Rights Commission/Te Kāhui Tika Tangata is calling for an immediate rent freeze and an increase to the accommodation supplement to give renters a reprieve during the cost-of-living crisis.

Too many New Zealanders are sacrificing their fundamental human rights to pay the rent, says chief commissioner Paul Hunt.

“We’re very concerned that some students, low-income or single-wage families are having to make trade-offs between the right to adequate food and the right to a decent home,” he said.

At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the government implemented a six-month freeze on rent increases to ease the pressure on renters. The commission is suggesting the government re-instate a temporary freeze.

This seems like a good idea. Currently the government is gradually building its way out of the housing shortage, and that's a long-term solution. But in the short-term, people are suffering as greedy Boomers gouge them for every cent they can, while rapacious property managers screw fees out of their captive market. Capping rents and controlling the rate at which they can increase will alleviate some of that suffering. Its what an actual left-wing government would do. The question is whether Labour is still interested in voters, or landlords.