A sign of the times, as the housing shortage worsens, is the fact that not only are people forced to live on squalid conditions in boarding houses but that the country’s biggest landlord- the Government – is facing huge losses from “naughty” tenants who were either evicted or just ran away. No guesses where these tenants have gone.
Yes that’s right. Straight into the private sector where some hapless investor will be inflicted with them. But wait! Can the private sector absorb them? Increasingly no. The housing shortage which I predicted months ago, has been aggravated by silly taxation moves ( removal of depreciation allowances) and threats of capital gains tax.
Time and again I have warned of the looming scandal caused by disincentives dished out to landlords and here we have some more evidence- as if it were needed.
Those of you who can see past the smoke and fog will realise that rising rents and increasing prices are just around the corner.
Homeless in ‘appalling conditions’
- The Dominion Post
Homeless people are having to pay top dollar to stay in squalid boarding houses which do not meet basic safety requireme
Downtown Community Ministry director Stephanie McIntyre said people living in boarding houses represented the largest proportion of the homeless population in Wellington.
They often lived in appalling conditions and felt powerless to report it because they had nowhere else to go, she told Parliament’s social services select committee this morning.
Many had doors that did not lock and kept baseball bats for security.
Some boarding houses were refusing to take on beneficiaries and others were kicking out tenants to make way for Rugby World Cup tourists, McIntyre said.
Co-chair of the New Zealand Coalition to End Homelessness, Corie Haddock, said boarding houses had gone from a “short-term option to a long-term no other option”.
He visited one boarding house in Auckland that housed 35 people but had never met building regulations and had a fire escape that ended in an enclosed area.
“You didn’t perish in the building you just perished out the back of the building.”
The coalition wants the national registration of boarding houses to establish minimum standards and introduce fines and loss of licence for failing to meet them.
People were paying up to $250 a week to live in poor conditions and there was little being done to monitor or enforce reasonable standards, Haddock said.
Poor standards were becoming the norm but there were a few good landlords who would be happy to register and would make it easy to weed out the bad ones, he said.
David Zussman of the Monte Cecilia Housing Trust based in South and West Auckland, said rooms in boarding houses were small, cold, noisy and smelled and residents never had a chance to relax.
Demand for such accommodation was likely to increase because of a lack of affordable and appropriate housing, he said.
“They’re filing a need by default.”
STATE HOUSE RESIDENTS MOVED
Meanwhile, almost 400 tenants have been kicked out of state houses in the last three years.
Housing Minister Phil Heatley said 241 tenancies were ended in the last year.
Tenancies were ended because people had failed to inform Housing New Zealand about income from employment, business interests, assets, that they lived with a partner of sublet the house.
Since July 2010, 119 tenants were successfully prosecuted for fraud.
Housing New Zealand has also identified $6.6 million from the last 12 months that is owed to the Crown, largely for overpaid rent subsidies.
“The state housing system is designed to help people in their time of need. It’s unfair and unacceptable for people to abuse the system and commit fraud to get benefits they are not entitled to. People who deliberately rip-off the system deprive families in real need,” Heatley said.
The houses were now freed up for those with genuine need, he said.
PS check out for evidence: http://www.barfoot.co.nz/Info/Market-Info/Stories/July-2011-Market-Update.aspx