By all means rate the landlords if there are any left

Rachel Smalley has come up with the suggestion that a rating system should be created for landlords. Her idea does have merit but in the current climate where landlords are racing to divest themselves of their rental portfolios because of the new government’s changes, I don’t think it will be needed.

Why do I say this? Well firstly because only the most competent and dedicated landlords will stay in the game and secondly because beggars can’t be choosers. The shrinking rental stock and the rental increases that will inevitably follow the new government’s changes will mean that most tenants will not be in a strong position to be fussy about who rents to them as Labour has inadvertently created a landlords? market.

Have you heard about the “tenancy risk score”?

It’s the brain child of a private company called ‘Tenancy Information New Zealand’ and in essence, it lets landlords score a tenant on a sliding scale of zero to 1000.

[…]? if you’ve got a history of being verbally or physically abusive towards your landlord, or you’ve used or made drugs in a house that you once tenanted, then you’ll be considered a high risk tenant and your tenancy score will reflect that. […]

If you’ve failed to pay the rent, you’ll also get a big black mark against your name, but I don’t think that’s fair. Sometimes life can take a turn for the worse, people can find themselves in a pickle, and as long as you don’t have a long-term history of failing to pay the rent, I’m not sure your reputation should be penalised for life.

Life isn’t fair and when you are a landlord struggling to pay your mortgage and your ever increasing rates bill then a tenant who has a history of not being able to pay is a risk you have every right to be made aware of. It all depends on the details.

And a landlord can also find out how much debt you have and what type of debt.

I would have thought that would be a breach of your privacy, but I assume that information is accessed via a credit check? I’m not sure. That’s not clear, but that’s quite a lot of information for a landlord to possess […]

I don’t see why Smalley is surprised by that. Rental properties are a business and tenants the revenue stream. You don’t take just anyone unless you are desperate. Their ability to pay is crucial to the success of your business.

Now, a landlord has to get the permission of prospective tenants before they can run a search — but if you say no, on principal, then what landlord is going to take you on?

Refuse, and you’ll miss out.

But what I want to know is this — who rates the landlords?

In my time, I’ve had great landlords, and I’ve had terrible landlords.

Landlords who didn’t miss a beat when it comes to collecting the rent, but who almost disappear off the face of the earth if something in the flat needs fixing, or there’s some sort of general maintenance issue — like the hot water cylinder blows up in the middle of winter. That sort of thing.

So where can tenants go to find out if their landlord is a good egg, or a chump?

Tenancy Information New Zealand says there’s no real demand for a landlord check. Really? If there was a system that rated landlords, I’d use it.

Tenants who can afford high rents like Smalley may be able to afford to be fussy. I remember years ago looking for a rental in Flatbush. I was working and didn’t have the time to look so sent my mother and daughter to three rental openings. My Mum was shocked when she was told that she would have to apply along with the other ten people who were also interested in renting the place. She had assumed that if she wanted it all she would have to do was to hand over the money. She couldn’t believe that she had to compete with all the other tenants and that they were offering more per week than what the landlord had asked for in order to go to the top of the list. It was a bidding war and Mum who has been a homeowner for a long time couldn’t believe it. In conditions like that tenants are hardly going to worry about the landlord.

Rating the landlord?sounds like a good idea and it is but under the conditions that the Labour government have created landlords will be the least of tenants? worries.

-NZ Herald