Council wants to compete with Trade Me?

August 25th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Press reports:

A Christchurch City councillor hopes the Government will set up a national register of residential rental properties, as a local scheme could prove too costly.

In March, councillors voted unanimously to explore options for setting up a register in the city.

It was the idea of the Tenants Protection Association and part of measures being considered to help address the city’s rental accommodation shortage.

Council housing committee chairman Cr Glenn Livingstone said the register could cost up to $1.5 million a year, which would be offset by charging registration fees.

Would be a total waste of money.

Trade Me is our effective register of properties.

The register would contain information on the availability of rental properties, whether houses were fit to live in, and on which landlords and agencies were charging letting and renewal fees.

People want to know what it will cost them, not if someone is on commission. And whether a house is fit to live in is something they generally like to decide for themselves by viewing it.

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21 Responses to “Council wants to compete with Trade Me?”

  1. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    This is the kind of stupid idea that a national “wasteful spending monitoring office” could stamp out right at the start.

    Oh, and now that MSD is doing a lot of what Housing NZ used to do, MSD would almost certainly have a truckload of housing information as well. Why the city council wants to duplicate what MSD is probably doing is a mystery.

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  2. Elaycee (4,393 comments) says:

    A Christchurch City councillor hopes the Government will set up a national register of residential rental properties, as a local scheme could prove too costly…. …Council housing committee chairman Cr Glenn Livingstone said the register could cost up to $1.5 million a year, which would be offset by charging registration fees.

    I’m starting to get a tad pissed off with Christchurch City Council… there seems to be a prevailing air of expectation that the long suffering taxpayer will happily keep forking out and forking out and forking out again…

    Rebuilding a shattered City is one thing, but the notion of the taxpayer stumping up $1.5 Million per year for something already in place, is financial folly.

    Cr Glenn Livingstone (plus those who voted for it) can get stuffed.

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  3. MT_Tinman (3,204 comments) says:

    There is nothing wrong with a councillor, nor a council (even a communist one elected by idiots such as the CCC) wanting, indeed asking for, anything.

    I would hope that, upon receiving or hearing of the request those responsible for looking after tax money immediately respond with a short, sharp, very public “On yer bike son, we have important things to do”.

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  4. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    Great to see that Christchurch has been fully rebuilt to such a state that councillors can now worry about such trivial things.

    Only a politician could answer the problem of a “city’s rental accommodation shortage” with a tax on landlords.

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  5. Grendel (1,002 comments) says:

    A friend of mine effectively keeps a register like this for a large property manager, so they know who owns what rental, who is managing it (so they can try and take over the management).

    It only comes up if the property goes up for rent on trademe, but between that data and RPNZ, she can get everythign the manager needs, and she is not making anywhere near 1.5M or charging the owners for the privelege. it has 20K plus entries in the database. how can the private sector do something effective and inexpensive, but it always costs millions when the council wants to do it.

    whether the property manager is charging a letting fee is only of interest to prospective tenants and is usually advertised on the listing, and lets be realistic, they almost all are.

    in terms of the quality of the property, thats for the prospective tenant to determine when they see it. what i would rent, you might not.

    Hell if tenants want to run a forum blacklisting properties and highlighting the good and bad ones etc, i have no issue with that, as long as owners can officially do it for tenants.

    Have councils ever seen an expense they said no to? isn’t it nice that they just assume they can force owners to be on their register and then force them to pay, just for the folly of allowing other people to live in their house?

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  6. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    The council (or any government agency) could do a great job replacing TradMe – all they need to do is tax TradMe out of existence or mandate to shut it down. A lot like public health – The gummit do a “great job” of providing A&E facilities because nobody else is allowed to !

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  7. sooty (64 comments) says:

    Another reason put the rent up!

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  8. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    A government big enough to give you everything you need is big enough to take everything you have off you.

    People will continue to vote for other peoples money though.

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  9. jonar (19 comments) says:

    “Great to see that Christchurch has been fully rebuilt to such a state that councillors can now worry about such trivial things.”

    I’m guessing no one here understands what’s going on in Christchurch. There’s a rental shortage such that huge amounts are being charged for crappy flats. It’s hardly trivial if you’re one of the poor sods looking for accommodation.

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  10. Colville (2,272 comments) says:

    Trademe has done a pretty decent job of replacing itself.
    At the start of the year they hiked charges to realestste agencies with a “we wont negotiate because you dont have a choice” message. Realestate agencies told them to go fu*k themselves and moved the listings to a site which is owned by the agencies.
    Trademe has been trying to lure agencies back on board and sending sweetners if you sign up for a year but no gaurantee that after a year fees wont quadruple again.
    Dunno how much Trademe lost by doing this but it would be $10mil +++/yr

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  11. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    :neutral: Big brother rates this rental property: Double-plus good

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  12. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    I’m guessing no one here understands what’s going on in Christchurch.

    We all get what’s going on in Christchurch. Proposing building software which already exists, for vast exorbitant yearly amounts, will not change rental shortages in either the short or long-term. Considering the Christchurch Council has their right to issue consents removed from them because they took too long to process them this would seem like absolutely their last priority. It pains me to have to write this but I was being sarcastic.

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  13. Peter (1,713 comments) says:

    How does duplicating TMs function solve the housing shortage? At best, it would solve a non-existent information shortage.

    Who are these muppets and why is anyone paying them?

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  14. lolitasbrother (702 comments) says:

    Its is worth remembering that when you advertise your home on trade me the exposure is huge.
    This can mean any person can see your address and availability.
    This also means that your home then may become a target.
    Good security is necessary.
    I do work in with neighbours, timed lights and tv on, car in driveway, surveillance and of course the
    Rottweiler .

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  15. box345 (50 comments) says:

    Colville, thanks for reminding us how free markets work. Trademe pushed the boundaries, and they lost business. So they reacted to market forces. Can you imagine the State Owned Enterprise for Listing Rental Properties in New Zealand, being responsive to market forces? In a pig’s ear they might. The SOELRPNZ would simply grind to a very taxpayer-expensive halt, and the people who proposed this white elephant, would get re-elected anyway, to do it all again on some other socialist/communist snafu. Why do we never learn? (btw Colville, your gratuitous profanity added nothing to your comment.)

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  16. box345 (50 comments) says:

    @ thor42 at 11:09 am
    “This is the kind of stupid idea that a national “wasteful spending monitoring office” could stamp out right at the start.”

    Wouldn’t a “wasteful spending monitoring office” be an example of the very thing the office is there to monitor? You want government competition not only for trademe, but also for the entire fourth estate?

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  17. artemisia (242 comments) says:

    Actually there is already a national register of most rental properties, and it is not Trademe.

    Trademe only has info on rentals while they are vacant and being advertised. Tenancy Services bond centre, however, has detailed records of all properties where a bond has been lodged – the vast majority of rentals – including address, size, rent, tenants, landlord and/or agent. .And it is reasonably up to date because it is updated with each new bond lodged.

    However, it is not open for just anyone to look at. And there is a good reason for that – privacy of the various parties.

    One of the reasons housing committee chairman Cr Glenn Livingstone wants this is to better enforce the provisions of the Residential Tenancies act. As housing committee chairman he seems remarkably ill informed, as every year there are tens of thousands of applications made under the Act to the Tenancy Tribunal. The TT is widely considered by landlords (yes,I know, but still) to be biased in favour of tenants.

    What councils really want is a national rental warrant of fitness scheme with database so they can employ a vast number of people with clipboards to tell landlords they are not allowed to let their properties without the big tick (and all Other People’s Money that is needed to get the big tick).

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  18. IGM (423 comments) says:

    When councillors are given the Ok to refuse payment for taxi fares by the mayor, what the hell else do they want for nothing! A real sick city.

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  19. Viking2 (11,488 comments) says:

    artemisia (222 comments) says:
    August 25th, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Actually there is already a national register of most rental properties, and it is not Trademe.
    ==================
    Certainly correct and it has the advantage that is carries the bonds and is beholding to the tenacy tribunal for release of those bonds.

    That allows anyone who wants to discover via the Tribunal records information about the past behavior of prospective tenants. Its not the only register as there are others that Property owners can use.

    This turkey seems to have not the slightest idea the anything like this exists and wants to build an empire in his own name.

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  20. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    How about council gets core business right? Building consents. Resource consents. Infrastructure. Reining in its completely out of control planning department.

    Once that’s sorted, let’s talk.

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  21. sassycassy (45 comments) says:

    Yes, The MBIE has stats on property rented for all bonds (legally) lodged with the Ministry within 23 days – but that information is retrospective. The Tenants Protection Assn look to have emotively influenced the council in the guise of addressing the accommodation and rental shortage- but its’ nothing more than wanting social (ist) controls over landlords & agents – fees they charge – and the property offered to let.

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