Housing Market Reform
The Opportunities Party (TOP) wants to ensure people have decent housing, regardless of whether they rent or own.
Our current taxation system punishes tenants and workers, and favours those who own their own home. TOP’s tax reform will make sure that the tax system treats owners and tenants fairly. It is focused on ensuring the owners of assets pay their fair share of tax. This change will raise up to $11b in revenue and enable a cut in income tax rates for everyone by up to one third. Housing affordability will be improved over time. Taxing assets will also encourage land bankers to develop their land and build more houses. In the big cities it will encourage higher density housing.
Real Rights for Renters
TOP’s tax reform will eventually restore housing affordability. However, this needs to be done slowly to avoid an economic crash akin to what we have seen overseas. In the mean time, we need to make renting a viable option for the generation of young people that has been priced out of home ownership.
TOP will change the regulations around residential tenancy law to match the German approach. Under this model the default standard lease makes it far easier for a tenant to remain in the premises long term. This will be achieved by restricting the conditions under which a landlord can evict a tenant to those of non-payment of rent or property damage. Sale of a property is not necessarily a legitimate reason for eviction. Most crucially this will provide tenant families with the long-term security hitherto offered only to those who buy their own home. This is a massive improvement in housing as a social good – irrespective of whether it is owned-occupied or not.
Better Quality Housing
TOP will restore the Emissions Trading Scheme, raising the price of carbon and reinvesting the proceeds in improving the insulation and energy efficiency of all homes. This will be backed up by a rental Warrant of Fitness and improved building standards.
We desperately need to improve the quantity and quality of social housing. TOP will expand the supply of social and affordable rental housing provided by not-for-profit organisations. We will achieve this by gifting Housing NZ stock to these community housing providers, giving them the equity and land they need to invest in expanding social housing and at-cost rental housing stock.
Housing should be a vital part of our infrastructure as a nation, not a get-rich-quick scheme. Our changes will ensure all families have access to warm, affordable, secure housing. This will reap dividends in the decades to come through lower health, crime and welfare costs, and better education and employment outcomes.
Page last updated on 1-Aug 2017
This is a significant risk in a market where supply is unable to meet demand, and we must address that fundamental issue in order to improve the lives of renters. Here's what TOP will do:
In order to increase supply, TOP’s tax policy will incentivise holders of empty property to let it out or to sell it to someone who will, as they will no longer be able to rely on capital gains to get a return on that investment. At the same time, TOP's housing supply policy will clear the way for more and denser housing construction by incentivising and resourcing councils to say yes, instead of no.
Community housing providers do a great job, and would like to offer their services to more families in need. The only thing holding back the expansion of community housing providers under the current model is lack of equity (capital). With the Housing NZ stock in their possession they would have land and the equity they need to develop it further. They would be able to do this far quicker than Housing NZ. Instead of selling houses as Housing NZ are doing we would expect the community housing sector to develop a mixed portfolio of rentals – including affordable market priced rentals. The unfortunate reality of government owned social housing is that various governments have used them as cash cows, taking income from them without investing in expanding social housing. Community housing providers would not face this problem, and would be better stewards of the government housing asset. Appropriate contracts and constitutions could be used to provide reassurance to all stakeholders.
For more information on how community housing providers do a better job than government at housing low income people, have a read of this article: http://www.top.org.nz/top_s_social_housing_policy
We appreciate that the thought of the government giving up ownership of housing stock is a scary prospect, but we would absolutely not be gifting this asset to the private, for profit sector! We would only make such a gift to community housing providers in the not-for-profit sector who have appropriate constitutions and governing bodies to ensure responsible stewardship. No corporate raiding, or cosy back room deals - that would be a disaster! There are many other countries which have taken this approach of transfers to the charity sector, for example Australia and the UK. These have proven to provide a better service to tenants than state owned operators.
This is an element of the German housing culture, but is not part of our policy. Landlords will still be able to let properties with a range of chattels, as long as certain basics are available.
In certain areas short-term rentals will be possible, but they will not be the norm. Regardless, if renters choose to leave a tenancy (e.g. if they finish study and move city) they can still give notice as they currently do.
Non-payment of rent or damage to the property.
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