The Property Investors Federation has raised concerns about a landmark eviction case in Wellington, which they say could damage the rights of landlords nationwide.
The case involves Housing New Zealand’s attempts to remove tenants with gang connections in Pompare.
One third of New Zealanders rent their homes, many of those from private landlords.
The PIF is a group set up to preserve the rights of those landlords – but now it is turning its attention to state housing.
They are worried about the impending findings of a tenancy tribunal hearing, in which Housing New Zealand are trying to get rid of a group of tenants with gang connections.
“We are really concerned,” says PIF Vice President Andrew King.
“Because this could set precedence, where landlords won’t have the ability to move tenants who are causing problems for other tenants and neighbours without giving the 90 days notice, without giving a reason.”
The PIF says under the Residential Tenancies Act landlords do not have to provide a reason to end a tenancy, in much the same way as a tenant does not have to provide a reason for leaving.
Mr King says if the tenants successfully fight off eviction, landlords everywhere will suffer.
“It definitely has the potential to be a landmark case, because we need the right to control the rental properties, not only for our own sake but the sake of the neighbours and other tenants who want to live in a peaceful environment.”
The difference in the Pomare case was that extra pages were accidentally attached to eviction notices.
They details the tenants’ connections to gang members allegedly involved in criminal acts.
But the tenants themselves say they have done nothing wrong and have the right to associate with whoever they like, as set out in the Bill of Rights.
“I think that Housing New Zealand have discriminated against everyone, and it’s not fair,” says Tenants’ spokeswoman Patria Tamaka.
The judgement for the case has been reserved by its adjudicator and could yet end up in the District Court.
A Housing New Zealand spokesperson says they are waiting for the ruling before they will comment.