Tenants’ opportunities are limited due to a housing shortage, according to an advocate.

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According to a tenants’ organisation, the rental market is so tight that residents are expected to rent from landlords with a bad track record.

According to Renters United, tenants that violate occupancy rules are often charged just a nominal fee, which does nothing to deter bad behaviour.

The backlash comes after a landlord was fined $3500 for authorising months of subpar insulation and repairs at a property he leased to tenants.

It was so cold that a mother and her daughter shared a bed to stay warm.

For months, the landlord neglected to repair a door lock and failed to adequately insulate the property.

Ashok Jacob, a Renters United spokesman for Wellington residents, said that insufficient fines are part of a flawed regulatory mechanism.

And if a resident is aware that their owner has already violated expectations, there is nothing the renter can do, according to him.

 

“For most tenants there’s no real choice as to who you have as your landlord… Even if you are aware the person you are about to sign with has had a bunch of Tenancy Tribunal orders, lots of people are not going to have that choice.”

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Jacob said the level of fine in the most recent case will not deter landlords from breaking the law.

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