Tuesday, June 30, 2015

State house tenant rights

MSD have just launched an initiative to encourage state house tenants to move from high demand areas to low. They provide an application form for 'community providers' - those working with a client in a state house - and advise financial assistance may be available. So there's not much particularly newsworthy there and I wasn't going to blog about it. However

With support from their community partners and financial assistance from us, a client on the social housing register, who’s willing and able, may be able to successfully move from an area of high housing demand to one of lower demand.(my emphasis)

After I'd chewed it over in real world terms I got to wondering about the voluntary aspect of all this (assuming also that HNZ takes a similar approach).

The house does not belong to the tenant. If the landlord (the state) wants to better manage the stock for social and financial reasons, isn't that their prerogative? Many tenants are now single, retired and sitting in homes that are bigger than they need and in areas where there are jobs. Why can't they be moved without their consent? In the private sector tenants can and are effectively moved on constantly because the landlord owns the property and therefore has the power to do with it as he wishes.

Why are state house tenants afforded greater rights? It seems they can sit in a house as long as they wish, and are always guaranteed another state home should they agree to move.

The idea of evicting people against their will doesn't have particular appeal to me but the anomaly is intriguing.


JC said...

I had a look at the stats around social housing and found the highest demand was for one bedroom homes and next was a solo parent requiring two bedrooms.

That inspired me to look at public housing around the rest of the world..


You really dont need to read the text, just look at the type of buildings round the world where they house people needing just 1-2 bedrooms. NZ is pretty much unique in offering single houses with lawns and gardens and stuff, elsewhere they are in enormous high rise blocks.

No wonder its so expensive and time consuming here to house lower income people and no wonder its a struggle to get them built.


JC said...


Amended link is



S. Beast said...

Why are state house tenants afforded greater rights?
State house tenants also avoid paying letting fees which can suck large amounts of cash away and are becoming increasingly difficult to avoid. Lucky buggers.

Another question might be, "why are subsidies higher to those in state houses?"

In a state home you only pay 25% of your income. In a private dwelling (obviously assuming low income or benefit status) you receive Accommodation Supplement....but if you compare the two the fact is you are better off financially in state housing, unless the private dwelling is way below market rent.

I only looked at the situation for a single parent, two children in a Wellington suburb but suspect it will be similar for others.

When I get time I am going to check to see if the State house vs Private accommodation differs in terms of abatement rates.

Anonymous said...

90 Days notice is all that is required to move people on.
That said I can understand that politically it is much more palatable if a tenant is encouraged to want to move without making huge headlines and creating a lot of management cost.
Not that I think they should automatically be entitled to another state house but some will be in no position to do otherwise.
I read that in Auckland they had removed three houses and built 17 and more in several Housing NZ properties.