Mayoral candidate Jenny Condie answers Renters United’s questions

September 30, 2019 10:34 pm

Renters United asked every candidate for the mayoralty 14 questions about the issues that most concern renters in Wellington. Here are Jenny Condie’s responses in full. Jenny is also running in the Takapū/Northern Ward. Compare Jenny with other candidates.

Housing quality:

How will you ensure all council owned and/or managed housing is safe, warm and dry? 

Finish the housing upgrades project currently underway.

What actions would you take to improve the quality of private rental housing in Wellington?

Increasing the supply of rental properties is the best way to improve the quality of housing. Forcing landlords to compete for tenants will lead to improvements in quality.

Security of tenure: 

How will you ensure all council tenants have security of tenure?

I will advocate for greater transparency around WCC policies for terminating tenancy.

What actions would you take to improve stability and security for private renters?

I will advocate to central government in support of their reforms of renters’ rights, including greater stability.

Housing supply and affordability:

WCC estimates Wellington has a shortfall of 4,000 houses. Rents have increased in the city by 10% per annum for the last three years.

Would you set a target for Council to double its housing portfolio by 2024 (from approximately 2,000 units to 4,000)?

I support an increase of rental housing in Wellington, some of which should be council housing.

How many new houses do you think the City Council should be building annually (above and beyond the private sector)?

City council should continue to partner with central government and private developers to deliver more rental housing in Wellington.

What are your other ideas for addressing the housing shortage and how would you make those a Council priority?

Council should focus its efforts on increasing the supply of housing, and specifically rental housing. I will make changes to the district plan to allow increased density near transport and amenities and simplify planning rules to reduce the build costs per unit. I will establish an Urban Development Agency to allow council to get involved directly in residential building projects, including using a new funding model to allow council to build more houses than our debt limits would otherwise allow. Council involvement would ensure that the new units are warm, dry, and safe.

Would you advocate for additional powers or resources from Central Government to address the housing crisis (such as the ability to freeze rents), if so what and how? 

I would advocate for government to restore rent subsidies for council housing tenants. I would also advocate for strengthening renter’s rights and giving local government the funding needed to enforce those rights.

Meaningful enforcement of laws:

Renters United believes the council should be more proactive in supporting renters to enforce both the existing and new housing quality laws (i.e. the Healthy Homes Standards). This could include funding and undertaking inspections of private rental houses against the standards and/or funding advocacy services to support renters in enforcing their rights.

Would you support and fund Council proactively inspecting rental homes?

I support a People’s Budget that would allow Wellingtonians to submit proposals for funding and let them decide which projects get funded. This would be a great proposal for the People’s Budget.

Do you think that Council should play a greater role in enforcing the standards?

Councils need additional funding in order to play a greater role in enforcement. I would lobby central government for funding.

What other actions would you take to improve the quality of rental housing in Wellington?

Increasing the supply of housing, and particularly rental housing, is the best action we can take to improve the quality of rental housing. When landlords need to compete for tenants the quality of accommodation improves.

Would you fund a dedicated tenants’ advocacy service?

I support a People’s Budget that would allow Wellingtonians to submit proposals for funding and let them decide which projects get funded. This would be a great proposal for the People’s Budget.

What else do you think Council should do to address power imbalance between landlords and tenants?

There is only a power imbalance currently because there are not enough rental properties in Wellington and so tenants must compete for properties. By increasing the supply of housing the balance of power would shift, as landlords would need to compete for tenants.

Do you have any other ideas or plans relevant to renters that you would like to share?

No response.

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