Laws haven't kept up with NZ's growing rental market, PM says amid concerns of power imbalance

As the rental market in New Zealand grows, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said laws haven’t kept up with the likes of Europe, where some people rent their entire lives.

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The Prime Minister talked about how she doesn’t think the power balance is quite right with landlords and tenants. Source: Breakfast

The Privacy Commissioner has felt it necessary to remind landlords about what information they can and can't demand for tenants, suggesting that the relationship between landlords and tenants isn't quite as equal as some might think.

But Ms Ardern admitted she doesn't think the power balance is quite right.

She told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning that's why the Government had made changes on issues like insulation - to "lift the standard".

"We shouldn't place all landlords in same category because there are of course those landlords who are seeking to create an environment that's really livable and then there are some who just aren't," she said.

"So putting in place those Healthy Home standards was really important but we are doing more than that as well."

Ms Ardern said the Government had put out a document seeking opinions from the public on tenancy laws, including issues like rent rises, notice periods and mutual agreements on things like having pets.

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Marlon Drake says flat viewings are now attracting hundreds of students, with landlords taking advantage of the demand. Source: Breakfast

"For landlords, they'll take a particular perspective, and tenants another," she said. "However, I think there is some common ground - landlords want good tenants and they want some certainty around good tenants staying; tenants want to be able to know that if they are going to stay for a long time what kind of experience they'll have."

Ms Ardern said it was "a real balancing act" between accommodating those who choose to rent, while acknowledging that some people don't want to rent long term and will want to own at some point.

But as renting becomes more common, there is work to be done, Ms Ardern said.

"We've grown a rental market in New Zealand and it's become increasingly used by people, particularly as we've had the housing crisis, but our laws aren't based on what you see overseas - in Europe in particular - where people will sometimes rent their entire lives.

"We just haven't built our tenancy laws around that kind of occupation."

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Buyers struggling to get into the market are contributing to a severe rental property shortage and record high rent prices. Source: 1 NEWS