February 11th is a big day, with big change coming if you are a landlord.
The hype is flying. The biggest reforms in 35 years, claim headlines. Houses to be emptied as landlords bail, suggest others.
Here's what I know: the harder you make it to do something, the less likely people are to do it. There is no question that being a landlord under the new rules about to come into to force will be harder, or at least more expensive.
We know this. We put air in over summer to a house. I say air, the government couches it as heat. Places have to be heated, the inference is that poor renters freeze to death among the mould, leaky walls, and windows.
In places like Auckland heat isn't really an issue, cool air is.
Anyway, there is a system in place whereby installers have been bundled together, they offer deals, and it's not a bad system.
But they all seem to agree that the government don’t have a clue about the real world. And what you're expected to do is way over the top, and as a result more expensive than it needs to be.
The air we put into a rental is bigger and more expensive than the air we put into our own home, and our own home is a much larger space. The air we put into our own home is what we needed, and not what the government told us to put in. It works, because the decision was driven by practicality, not government edict.
We also met, over the break, a couple who turned out to be landlords for 30 years. They own four properties, but they're selling. They're over it, they have seen a lot of change in three decades, but this stuff, they’ve decided, is over the top, draconian, and it simply isn't worth their while.
Now, that’s anecdotal and for now the whole "it’s the end of the world" line is nothing more than that. It may well be landlords by in large suck it up, and nothing changes. It may well be the return on property beyond rent is too good to ignore. No, you don't have tenants and air conditioning in the share market, but in housing, you don’t run the risk of a bubble bursting and a crash.
So, let's see.
But I can't help but think that most landlords are decent people, as are most tenants. And all the noise around rents and renting, as is so often the case, is driven by the exception, not the rule.