Jess McAllen has a great article in the Sunday Star-Times about the plight of renters and the should-be-criminal state of many rental properties in NZ.
The rats have evolved. They used to fall for the traps Harley Neville set out in his bedroom but that’s just succeeded in killing off the weakest members of the herd. The strongest are left, he says. They’re smarter and walking straight past. He’s tried colby, he’s tried camembert. All the rats want to nibble on are his candles. It’s not a house in a third world country. It’s a four-bedroom villa in central Auckland that costs $720 a week. But people don’t care, he says. Buyers are the ones with the money. Renters are the unheard voice. It’s a castle compared to the rest of the rentals in this article.
It also unfortunately – or fortunately, from a “give them enough rope” perspective – includes quotes from Property Investors Federation head Andrew King, aka “least sympathetic man on the planet”:
Andrew King from the Property Investors Federation, whose group represents about 6000 landlords owning 22,000 properties, says that some of the power to stop it is in their hands. He says tenants often do things that encourage mould, such as not heating homes and drying clothes on clothes racks.
“A lot of tenants actually keep their curtains closed during the day. Both parties need to take responsibility for mould.”
“The only reason a tenant would choose to stay there if it was in an unsafe condition is if the rent was really cheap. Then it’s kind of their choice.”
His association is working with the Children’s Commissioner and Otago Medical School to see if families of children who are suffering can get electricity grants through winter months to encourage them to turn on the heater.
Yep, it’s the fault of the tenants for not leaving all their windows open all day in the middle of winter while they’re out at work, it’s the fault of the tenants for being too poor to use a tumble dryer for all their laundry, it’s the fault of the tenants for being human and having corporeal form and thinking they need to have a roof over their and their kids’ heads.
I mean, the poor little landlords are only charging the bare minimum to cover their costs! They got into property investment because they love helping people! Why doesn’t anyone appreciate their charity? And look, what would be best for everyone involved is if the government could subsidise the horrific power bills their tenants have to pay just to keep their homes liveable.
And they’ll probably get it. If there’s one thing National is really good at, it’s using the power of the state to make it easier for rich people to get richer at the expense of the poor. They’ll call it a community service and jump up and down about how much they’re doing to stop kids getting chronic lung infections, but ultimately, more money will be taken from the working and middle classes and funnelled into the pockets of the kind of people who own on average 3.6 investment properties and call their private lobbying club ~a Federation~.