Greens want rent-to-own scheme

19:30, Jan 23 2013

Low income families could rent-to-own government-built homes under a Green Party scheme designed to dovetail into Labour Party plans to build affordable housing.

Green co-leader Metiria Turei is expected to speak at Ratana today about plans for a shared-equity housing scheme, through which low-income families would rent state houses at a rate which covered the Government's build cost, with the flexibility to pay a variable premium which would go towards building equity.

If participants' financial circumstances deteriorated they could simply rent.

"You would continue to just purchase off the Crown until perhaps you had enough equity in the home to get a commercial mortgage," Turei said.

The scheme is designed to work in conjunction with Labour's Kiwibuild plan, which proposes building 100,000 homes at $300,000 each over a decade, although the Green's scheme would require no deposit.

The party will also extend its existing plans for a "warrant of fitness" on all rental accommodation to cover weather-tightness and basic amenities, as well as strengthening tenancy laws to limit rent increases to a maximum of once a year.

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The Greens' announcement came a day after the National Party moved to put home affordability at the centre of its agenda, promoting Nick Smith to Housing Minister.

Smith said the Resource Management Act was failing New Zealanders when it came to housing affordability and a suite of reforms was required.

Turei dismissed the claim.

"I don't buy the argument that the major problem is accessible land," she said.

"There are a large number of projects or potential projects where people are building for around that [$300,000] cost."

Contact Hamish Rutherford
Business reporter
Email: hamish.rutherford@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @oneforthedr

The Dominion Post