• Time to punish landlords who exploit tenants with unfair rent rises – Robertson

    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has called for Wellington tenants to dob in dodgy landlords who are unfairly raising rents.

    As students return to Wellington, the rental housing market is heating up and some landlords appear to be significantly raising rents to take advantage of student allowance increases.

    “My office has heard from Wellington renters who have suddenly had their rent increased by $50 a week – exactly the amount that the maximum loan living costs will be increasing by this year,” Robertson, who is the Wellington Central MP, said. 

    “There are other stories of rent auctions and supplementary payments that are adding to the squeeze on renters.”

    “Landlords will increase rents from time to time, but this should be fair and reasonable. These kinds of rent increases look like exploitation, and like they are taking advantage of a group of vulnerable people in a tight market.”

    While it’s currently lawful for landlords to raise rents to reflect market rates, Robertson says those who cross this line should be punished.

    “The Government is committed to working with the Wellington City Council and private developers to increase the supply of rental accommodation. We are also reviewing the Residential Tenancies Act to improve the rights of renters. But these steps will take time, he said.

    “In the meantime, tenants who are experiencing these unfair rent rises should get in touch with my electorate office. It is important to find out which landlords are taking advantage of their tenants, and then take action to expose this, and where possible to stop this practice.”