Results of a survey released by the New Zealand Property Investors Federation (NZPIF) showed that as many as 74 percent of the 800 landlords surveyed would increase rents if Labour wins the election and implements its housing policies.
With Critic’s publication and distribution dates straddling election day, the resulting government at the time of writing is unknown, but with as many as 54 percent of those who said that they would increase rents claiming they would do so by between $20 and $40 per week, it would suggest the direct financial consequences are potentially enormous for New Zealand’s tenants.
Moreover, 13 percent of those surveyed said they would increase rents by more than $40 per week, while only 6.5 percent said they would not make any increase, and the remaining 20 percent answering ‘not sure’.
The results of the survey are not all they seem, according to Labour health spokesperson Phil Twyford. He told Critic that the “NZPIF survey is flawed. 800 self-selected responses out of more than 200,000 landlords, based on leading questions, and incomplete information about Labour’s policies.”
He said, “I am sick of the self-serving scaremongering of the Property Investors Federation,” before assuring voters that, “We don’t expect rents to go up under Labour’s policies”.
In response to these claims of ‘scaremongering’ from Twyford, which he had earlier made to Radio New Zealand, NZPIF Executive Officer Andrew King said that the capital gains tax Labour “has all but confirmed” would increase the cost of providing rental accommodation.
“This is not just the view of our industry group,” King explained on the federation’s website. He then quoted BNZ Economist Tony Alexander who said last month that, “Labour's policy mix has capacity to help constrain the pace of house price rises for lower-priced properties by boosting supply. But it will come at the price of higher rents."
Twyford went on to lambast the federation beyond the survey results, explaining, “They don't want rental properties to be warm and dry. They want to be able to kick renters out without having to give a reason. They want every other taxpayer to subsidise them with tax breaks. They don't want to pay tax on their capital gains. 450,000 Kiwi households are renters. It is time we stopped treating them like second class citizens and modernised our rental laws. People need affordable, warm dry homes where they don't live in constant fear of being kicked out.”
The survey also highlights that landlords are very concerned with the 90 day notice to end tenancies without reason, the introduction of a capital gains tax for rental properties, and if the Bright Line Test was extended from 2 years to 5 years, as well as several other policies.
The cost of renting apartments, townhouses and units in New Zealand has already increased by 6.3 percent in the last year to $420, according to the latest Trade Me Property Rental Index.