Empty houses for homeless: 'Phone call from Housing NZ not likely to change owners' minds'

Publish Date
Sat, 1 Feb 2020, 9:54AM
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Empty houses for homeless: 'Phone call from Housing NZ not likely to change owners' minds'

Publish Date
Sat, 1 Feb 2020, 9:54AM

Auckland Council and the Government are looking at alternative options to housing the city's homeless.


Mayor Phil Goff has suggested using so-called ‘ghost houses’ and asking their owners to open them up for housing New Zealand tenants.


Executive Officer of the New Zealand Property Investors Association Andrew King told Heather Du Plessis-Allan a property may be empty for a raft of reasons.


“There are all sorts of reasons why they could be empty. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to be available to someone.”


He said he wouldn’t have a clue how many so-called ‘ghost houses’ are out there.


“I don’t think there’s any really good statistics on this.”


King said if there are a number of empty houses, perhaps we need to ask why a rental property owner would rather keep a house empty than have tenants live it.


“It could be that a lot of the rental changes we have seen in the last few years, that are specifically aimed at dissuading people from renting out property, are having an effect and maybe people are just choosing to own a property but not actually rent it.”


For those who don’t want tenants at all, King says a phone call from Housing New Zealand is not likely to change their minds.


“If [people think ] it’s too much hassle to have a tenant then maybe we need to take a look at some of our laws and make them a bit more landlord-friendly,” King told Heather Du Plessis-Allan.