Candidate Nicola Young answers Renters United’s questions

September 30, 2019 11:47 pm

Renters United asked every candidate in the Pukehīnau/Lambton Ward 14 questions about the issues that most concern renters in Wellington. Here are Nicola Young responses in full. Compare Nicola with other candidates.

Housing quality:

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

Wellington City Council is already one of the largest non-government social housing suppliers in New Zealand. The Council has delivered new, high-quality housing stock, and we need to keep using our assets wisely to deliver more.

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

The Council has already implemented the rental housing warrant of fitness, but making more new and affordable housing available in Wellington will go a long way to lifting the city’s rental stock.

Security of tenure: 

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

Wellington City Council’s social housing service is a high-quality and award-winning service. Tenure is generally not a risk for qualifying tenants; while there are exceptions, I support the current service provision model.

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

Refer above.

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)?

The Council is already one of the largest social housing providers in New Zealand. In addition, we are facilitating the development of more housing which I support. Consents are at record levels and new homes are being built; this will ameliorate current pressures.

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

See above.

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

It is already one of the Council’s five key focus areas, and I support that work.

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? 

Yes. Income-related rents could be extended to local body housing providers; this would reduce financial pressures and help to redevelop existing stock and develop new stock.

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?

No. We are already one of the largest social housing providers in New Zealand and we are working to facilitate the development of new housing in Wellington. The Government, however, does have a role to play.

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

As a consenting authority, we already do.

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

More housing is the first priority, and our consenting rules ensure the development of high-quality housing.

Would you fund a dedicated tenants’ advocacy service?

This is a role for central Government.

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

More housing gives renters more choice, and more ability/power to negotiate.

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

See above.

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