Making public housing tenancy reviews fairer

Changes are being made to public housing tenancy reviews to ensure vulnerable tenants are protected and more places are available for those that need them, Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today.

“We are striking a fairer balance by providing more stability for tenants who need long term public housing, while freeing up places for people in need,” Phil Twyford said.

Under the new exemption criteria, public housing tenants who do not need to undergo a tenancy review will now include:

  • families that have dependent children 18 years old and under,
  • households where the tenant or their partner is aged 65 or older,
  • households where the tenant or their partner has a permanent or severe disability, or a health condition,
  • tenants that are providing full-time care at home for a person other than their spouse or partner who would otherwise need hospital level or residential care,
  • those with agreed lifetime tenure with Housing New Zealand.

“We know that reviews create unnecessary stress and uncertainty for vulnerable groups given that most of them will remain eligible for public housing. So that’s why we are exempting them.

“Although this is a large increase in exemptions and applies to around 81 per cent of tenants, we expect the effect on the Housing Register to be small.

“By taking a more targeted approach to tenancy reviews and focusing on groups that are more likely to exit public housing, we will free up more public housing places faster than we are now,” said Phil Twyford.

Tenancy reviews have been on hold since earlier this year and will resume under the new exemptions in 2019.

Exempt tenants will still need to keep MSD informed of any change in their circumstances, and will still be able to be reviewed if those changes could impact their eligibility for public housing or if they need to move into a property that better meets their needs.

Note for editors

Currently, the only public housing tenants exempt from periodic tenancy reviews are:

  • people 75 and older,
  • people whose house is modified for their needs such as wheelchair access,
  • households working with a Children’s Team in the Ministry for Children Oranga Tamariki,
  • those with an agreed lifetime tenure with Housing New Zealand.