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Motel used for emergency housing
7 March, 2024

How will emergency housing changes affect landlords?

Leyton Blackler
Leyton Blackler
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In a recent announcement, the New Zealand government laid out its plans to shake up emergency housing, specifically for families with children who find themselves in a bind. Spearheaded by Housing Minister Chris Bishop, the changes are pretty straightforward but signal a big shift in how things have been running.

Starting April, families with kids who've been stuck in emergency housing for over three months will now jump to the front of the housing queue. This move, dubbed Priority One, is expected to fast-track about 800 families out of the estimated 3,000 waiting for a more permanent roof over their heads. It's a significant gesture, acknowledging the urgent need to provide stable environments for children caught in housing crises.

But there's a twist. The government isn't just making it easier for families in need to get help; they're tightening the screws on how people access emergency housing in the first place. They're going to be looking much closer at who gets into emergency housing and why. The plan is to ensure that emergency housing really is the last resort for those who have truly run out of options.

For landlords, this could mean a few things. Firstly, the push to get families into more stable housing situations might open up new opportunities for private rentals. With the government looking to scrutinise emergency housing applicants more closely, landlords might see a more streamlined process and potentially a more reliable tenant base.

That being said, offering emergency housing as a private landlord isn't without its challenges. Concerns over property damage, missed rent payments, and disturbances are valid and significant. It's here that the government's suggestion to reintroduce 90-day no-cause terminations as part of its coalition agreement shines a light on a potential path to mitigate these risks. Such a measure could offer landlords the reassurance needed to become part of the emergency housing solution without feeling exposed to undue risk.

But it's not just about filling vacancies. The government's move signals a call to action for landlords to be part of a broader solution to the housing crisis. Yes, there may be more hoops to jump through, and yes, it means being more involved in a system that's undergoing significant changes. But it's also a chance to make a real difference in the lives of families in need.

Bishop's remarks highlight a sobering reality: thousands of families are living in less-than-ideal conditions, and it's costing both them and the country dearly. The government's strategy, including exploring innovative solutions like social bonds and working more closely with private landlords, aims to tackle this head-on. It's an ambitious plan, one that acknowledges the problem won't be solved overnight but is a step in the right direction.

For landlords, this evolving landscape presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. It's about more than just business; it's about how we, as part of the community, can contribute to solving a pressing social issue. Whether it's by offering more stable housing options to those emerging from emergency situations or simply staying informed and engaged with the changes, there's a role for everyone to play.

As we navigate these changes together, the goal is clear: fewer children in motels and more families in homes where they can thrive. It's a hefty task but one that's worth tackling head-on. After all, at the heart of it, it's about building a stronger, more supportive community for everyone.

The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. We make no representations or warranties about the accuracy, completeness, or suitability of the information, and we do not accept any liability for any loss or damage that may arise from your use of the content. It is essential to consult with a qualified legal professional for advice tailored to your specific situation.

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