Two relatively new tenant advocacy groups pulled a stunt recently aimed at dramatically increasing tenant's rights. They sent out a call to their supporter database and social media channels asking for peoples "stories" about how they found renting and the condition of their rental properties. They then interpreted these stories to produce a report of what renting is like in New Zealand.
From these "stories" they estimated that 70% of rental properties in New Zealand are not insulated, when a better quality BRANZ research estimated the complete opposite, that 77% of rental properties were in fact insulated.
They fully accepted that this was not scientific research and that they were likely to get negative comments from respondents, which they did.
Despite this, they used these findings to paint rental property providers in a very poor light and then demand a wide ranging set of benefits for tenants, many with no regard for the landlords situation or any idea of what impact it would have on the rental property system.
In effect, they want much better rental properties without having to pay any more for them, they want to pay as little as they can once in their rental without any reference to the cost of providing them a home, they want the right to stay in the home as long as they want but to leave whenever they want, they want to restrict the owners right to sell their property, they want paid lawyers to demand their rights at the Tenancy Tribunal and they want to change the Tribunal from being independent court to being a police force for tenants against landlords.
On top of this they still want to buy a home of their own one day, so they want to tax the people providing rental property to dissuade them from entering the market and competing with them.
In short. They want everything.
It is interesting that these two groups are led by young people and yet they have such an old fashioned and combative way of operating. It is an I win, you lose philosophy that says my rights come first and your rights must be taken away for me to get what I want.
I'm proud of the way that the Property Investors' Federation and Associations' around the country view tenants. We believe that tenants are our customers and that we are a service provider to them. We acknowledge that if something is bad for tenants, it is likely to flow on into being a problem for us. With this philosophy in mind, we look for solutions to issues always mindful of how tenants will be affected. If there is an issue particular to a specific subset of tenant's, we look for solutions that focus on that subset but don't negatively impact on other tenant's.
It will be interesting to see how political parties react to these new lobbyists. I believe that our approach to challenges in our industry is the right way, but in the face of this new and aggressive, win/lose mentality from tenant lobbyists, perhaps we need to reconsider our approach.