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Working people need urgent action on safe affordable rental homes

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Council of Trade Unions Secretary Sam Huggard welcomed the Renters United plan to fix renting in New Zealand as a positive contribution to the conversation on housing for working people. "Practical and urgent policy options to provide safer housing, more affordable housing, and more stable homes in our communities for people who are renting are overdue in New Zealand," he said.

"It used to be the case that a full time job meant that you had the option of buying a home to make your own. But as housing prices have rocketed many times above an affordable level for most Kiwis, renting has become the norm for working people and their families. The stereotype of substandard rental housing as an uncomfortable, but temporary option for flatting students hasn’t kept up with the fact that the majority of rental houses are now leased to young single people or adults with children."

"No one should have to put up with homes that make them cold, poor and sick at any stage of their life. But I’m deeply concerned by the lifetime impact on young families who are trying to juggle multiple jobs and raising kids in unsuitable homes, for the profit of the already comfortable. Because of insecure housing New Zealand has a high rate of transience with over 200,000 of us moving more than three times in three years. That makes it incredibly hard to put down roots in a community, get a consistent education and plan and hold down work."

"In the long run, more affordable ownership options for working people need to be rolled out by the Government, and this is underway. But right now, we need to stop pretending that the Kiwi dream of home ownership is a realistic option for most people, and actually deal with the longstanding problem of rotten and overpriced rentals. More secure tenancies, making rents affordable - particularly in urban centres - and having an enforceable system for checking that houses are habitable will protect working people being exploited by property investors."

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