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Exploitative landlord-tenant relationships in Auckland

Jacob Otter
Auckland Council Research and Evaluation Unit, RIMU
Publication date:  

Auckland is confronting a housing crisis, evident in insufficient supply, rising rent prices, increasing unaffordability of living, and a rise in homelessness. Home ownership is declining, placing increasing pressure on the rental market, the majority of which is privately owned in Aotearoa New Zealand. As the gap between incomes and the cost of housing continues to rise, concerns are emerging at exploitative practices of landlords, impacting in particular on vulnerable tenants. This is visible in substandard accommodation (unhealthy, overcrowded, derelict, dirty), illegal practices (unconsented conversions and sewerage systems), and informal arrangements (such as sex in exchange for rent).

Exploitative landlord-tenant relationships can be hard to identify as vulnerable tenants rely upon these landlords for shelter, but they tend to occur in neighbourhoods where vulnerable households already reside, and often involve the leasing of overcrowded, unhealthy dwellings. This gives scope for more effective regulatory responses such as building inspections, warrants of fitness and the increased provision of social housing.

Auckland Council discussion paper DP2017/004