Press release - "Relationship counselling" much needed for landlords and tenants





Auckland, New Zealand - 6th April 2017 - New Zealand biggest group of landlords is challenging property owners and tenants to enter into some “relationship counselling”.

The call comes as amid growing frustrations between the two camps fuelled by a tight property market, rising rents and interest rates and our new culture of not talking to each other.

Auckland Property Investors Association says it would like to see a tenants education association established – similar to its own non-profit association that works with property owners to help them be better landlords and to keep them up to speed on law changes and regulations.

“We do not believe residential tenancy is a zero-sum relationship,” says APIA vice president Peter Lewis. “One party’s gain does not lead to the other party’s loss. Unfortunately, for far too long, the public dialogue on residential tenancy has this undercurrent that there is an inherent tug-o-war between landlords and tenants.”

Mr Lewis says there are mutually beneficial outcomes to be had when a landlord treats his rental property like a business and looks after their tenants.

“The landlord ensures a satisfactory return on his/her investment. The tenant receives shelter and good accommodation service. Both parties are therefore more able to contribute more positively to the economy.

“Landlords and tenants are equal partners to a residential tenancy. As much as it is important for landlords to up-skill, we also want to see tenants up-skilling and treat renting like a business relationship they had voluntarily entered into. For example, if you do not pay your credit card debt, you would expect the bank to take action against you to recover. Similarly, if you do not pay rent on time, you should expect the landlord to take action to recover his loss of income.

“If you go to a shop and damage some merchandise, you would be expected to compensate the owner. Similarly, if you damage a rental property you should be expected to compensate the owner/landlord (though now that we are post Holler v Osaki, tenants get away with not paying for unintentional damage).”

Mr Lewis says the association believes there are two main causes behind most residential tenancy issues:

Lack of communication between tenants and landlords which allow issues to fester and snowball; and

Lack of systemic mobilisation and up-skilling of tenants because historically renting is transient whereas these days it is more permanent (i.e. back in the days, a landlord was likely to be a landlord for far longer than his tenant would remain a tenant. It was therefore entirely logically and acceptable that tenants would not spend a lot of time working out how to be better tenants. These days with house prices the way they are, tenants are becoming career tenants but we are not seeing that shift in attitude or drive from the tenant community to understand the RTA more and become better tenants). We like to see an equivalent tenant organisation that is as active as ours to support tenants

Mr Lewis says that APIA supports a continual evolution of residential tenancy from a personal and transient relationship to a more permanent business relationship as a reflection of market reality.

"As part of our position we want to see landlords treat residential tenancy as a business and uplift the accommodation service we provide tenants; and tenants to treat the tenancy as a business relationship and hold up their end of the bargain including paying rent on time and looking after the property.

"We host over 100 educational and networking events for our members to help them become better landlords and investors. We'd like to see an equivalent tenants group established so we can work alongside it and have grown up conversations.

"The argument that ‘landlords should do more for tenants because they can afford to’ is a fallacy. We shouldn’t be better landlords because we could, but because we should. Everything else is noise. To hinge the argument that landlords should do more on what we can afford to would logically suggest that when the market turns landlords should do less for our tenants. Tenants’ wellbeing is absolute and has nothing to do with where the property market is at."



Sandra Roberts

021 525104



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