Landlords are NOT an essential service | The Jackal

28 Mar 2020

Landlords are NOT an essential service

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.

Unfortunately for them that sense of superiority has recently been challenged by the Coalition Government, who has rightly implemented a number of rules to ensure tenants aren’t put at increased risk during the COVID-19 lockdown.

On Wednesday, the Beehive reported:

COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants 
  • Immediate freeze on rent increases 
  • Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances 
  • Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period
  • Tenants will still be able to terminate their tenancy as normal, if they wish
The Government is supporting New Zealanders to stay in their rental properties with a six month freeze on residential rent increases and increased protection from having their tenancies terminated, says the Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods. 
“These changes will ensure that people can stay in their homes during this challenging time. This enables families and individuals to self-isolate, to stay home and maintain physical distancing, supporting the public health of all New Zealanders.

Landlords will be spitting tacks about these measures, particularly as they come soon after a number of other worthwhile healthy home initiatives designed to protect the wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

In particular they will hate with a vengeance renters (who they view as second-class citizens) having the ability to terminate their tenancies while they cannot.

It came as no surprise then that landlords fired back at the Coalition Government for daring to initiate policy to safeguard people’s lives, particularly those who don’t currently have the resources available to move house.

On Wednesday, Stuff reported:

Coronavirus: Tenants told 14-day notices sent if rent not paid 

As the country prepares for a lockdown, property managers have been telling tenants that they must pay rent or likely receive a 14-day notice - something a renters' group says is "tone deaf". 
In Wellington, property management group Quinovic earlier this week told its tenants that notices will be sent if they do not pay in time. 

Who in their right mind would threaten to kick people out onto the street at a time like this? Unfortunately that’s exactly what some scumbag landlords believe they’re entitled to do, showing that they have no concern for tenants’ wellbeing at all.

Down south, renters in Christchurch were told in a letter by Prestige Property Management Limited that rent was still due as usual and the company emphasised it had a "zero rent arrears policy".

Zero empathy towards tenants more like. But if that wasn’t bad enough, the property owning gentry are now playing the poor me card.

Yesterday, Stuff reported:

Property investor claims human rights breach as Govt clamps down amid coronavirus outbreak 

Property investors say they are being left out of pocket, ignored by measures intended to help support the rest of the New Zealand economy. 
As part of its response to the Covid-19 disruption, the Government has imposed a rent freeze on the market for at least the next six months. Landlords who try to raise rents in that time face a $6500 fine. 
Tenants will also not be able to be evicted during the lockdown period unless both parties agree, or in limited circumstance - such as when a tenant is more than 60 days late with rent. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said she wants the names of landlords breaking the rules.

It’s great that the Government is treating the issue of housing security seriously. There’s no doubt that the problem of unfair evictions causing increased risk and homelessness during the COVID-19 lockdown would be occurring if a National led Government was in power.

That's because on the whole the right wing and landlords don’t really care about poor people’s health and safety. New Zealand’s numerous substandard rental properties, resulting in sickness, disability and contributing to our low productivity rate is testament to that.

Here’s one of the leeches complaining that he’s not personally profiting during the pandemic.

One investor, Chris Isherwood, came home from overseas when the Government indicated New Zealanders should. 
But he had nowhere to live because he now could not ask a tenant to leave.

So Isherwood is complaining because he’s not allowed to immediately evict somebody during the COVID-19 lockdown, which would assuredly put other peoples lives in danger.

By complaining about not having somewhere to live (presumably because he cannot find a hotel or rental property), Isherwood is effectively complaining about the very same free market housing system that he’s been profiting from. How stupid!

It’s not as if tenants are getting a rent holiday, even though they will have additional costs because of the lockdown. Instead there’s a $25 per week increase to benefits and a doubling of the winter energy payment, which landlords will be hungry to soak up once the Government's rent freeze ends.

"I have not had any need for welfare in the past and have diligently worked my business over the last 17 years into a position where I can live independently, without need of handouts and freed up my full-time job for another person. I have not been a burden to the health system and keep myself fit and healthy.
"Until I put my business into management a few years ago, I had built up good relationships with tenants being a fair and caring landlord

A fair and caring landlord who wants to kick tenants out onto the street during a pandemic. What Isherwood is actually saying is that he doesn’t work and lives off of his tenants incomes through overpriced rental property, which is managed by invariably uncaring real estate agents.

It’s a sad fact that most landlords are intent on keeping their tenants impoverished by raising rents to breaking point. In essence the entire rental industry is predicated upon exploiting poor people and locking them into a cycle of poverty.

"I know this is a tough time for everyone and I will get through it regardless. This situation is however grossly unfair to landlords that rely on their rent for income. I never miss my tax payments, however, I am not receiving any benefits from my tax. This is not good enough and fundamentally wrong. On the face of it this is a breach of my human rights, don't you think?"

So apparently Isherwood doesn’t drive on roads and has refused things like a pension. Maybe he doesn’t even eat food or breath oxygen either.

This is just blatant dishonest propaganda from another selfish landlord. If Isherwood hasn’t managed the excessive profits from his numerous investment properties properly, he has nobody to blame but himself. If he doesn’t have any profits to show after 17 years of property ownership to get him though a 28 day lockdown, why should the taxpayer bail his greedy arse out now?

Most landlords, property investors and real estate agents have been partying up large with the excessive profits from their rental properties, while renters often live on scraps in cold and damp houses. That makes landlords now complaining and holding their hands out as if they’re the victims about as ridiculous as it gets.

The only thing the Government should provide to the rentier class is another raft of policy initiatives to ensure hard working Kiwis who have to rent in an overpriced market attain some dignity and ability to make ends meet.