Mayoral candidate Norbert Hausberg answers Renters United’s questions

September 30, 2019 10:04 pm

Renters United asked every candidate for the mayoralty 14 questions about the issues that most concern renters in Wellington. Here are Norbert Hausberg’s responses in full. Compare Norbert with other candidates.

Housing quality:

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

apart from having the council pass the  appropriate rules there is not much you can do. Sadly I am only 1 vote on the table.

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

Very much a government question to legislate. They started to improve insulation  but there is still a long way to go and lots to do.

Security of tenure: 

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

Why shouldn’t they have security of tenure?

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

Very much government issue. Lots of stuff done overseas but we are a bit behing in that area.

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)?

On my part there is no problem, its rather a question of finance and there is a limited pot to go around.

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

OMG we seem to well behind but its the same as your number 9. The wish might be there but the cash missing.

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

Housing is a priority for me as a Mayor. Wellington can not tolerate homelessness full stop. Having functional public transport and  much cheaper( my programme) will reduce some of the problems. And a larger Wellington ranging from Masterton and Otaki south.

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? 

Berlin, Barcelona and New York are great examples, yes rent freeze and the issue of Airbnb are part of the solutions.

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?

Not certain if we have the legal ability, would have to talk to lawyers about it.

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

Good question, dont have the answers. But yes why not and how to do it. Would have to work that out.

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

More renters dobbing in slum landlords through(see 16) great one.

Would you fund a dedicated tenants’ advocacy service?

Yes

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

16 would be the issue. With any wrongs the tenant would have a place to hopefully adress it.

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

With rents as high as they are, reducing the deposit for first homebuyer to 0 would be a start to get renters into their own property. As well as rent to buy as an option. So helping renters to buy. And changing council building rules. Well there are options!

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