to live is becoming increasingly more difficult and more expensive. One of the minor parties wants to put a stop to that by making it impossible for landlords to raise the rent for at least the next two years.
I don't think that's going to help at all. It may actually make matters worse. Middle Cat and her partner have a rental property. It represents what would otherwise have been Middle Cat's superannuation...the money they will in part depend on when her partner retires. The rent is helping to pay off the mortgage. They could almost certainly get more in rent but they have very good long term tenants in the property. Both of them believe it is better to have it that way than worry about what sort of tenants they might get if these moved out. Over the years they have increased the rent in line with inflation...but only just. Right now they are also paying to own the property in other ways. The rent does not cover the costs of owning it - only owning it in the long term and other factors will make the property worth anything.
But other people think they are "rich". They aren't. That property and the one they live in are modest.
Last night the woman presenting the financial report on the news mentioned that the Census figures which have just been released showed that there were a million unoccupied houses on Census night. That should shock people when we have so many people searching desperately for somewhere to rent, to sleep at night.
There is a house at the end of this street. It has been vacant for eight years now. There was an old couple in there when we moved in. The wife died first and the old man went on living there alone. I went in and out of the house on a number of occasions when he needed help. It was built in the seventies and well maintained if starting to look a little shabby. When I last saw it the place was much better than many rental properties I have entered.
The old man's children have kept the place. They have relatives in the country who "holiday" in the city for the bare minimum number of nights to keep up the insurance requirements and the tax man happy. It has four bedrooms, a living area, a dining area and all the usual requirements. It is on a piece of land that is twice the size of a usual block of land. The outdoor area would be ideal for children to play in. If it is eventually sold the most likely thing is that it will be demolished and multiple dwellings will replace it. Right now though it is vacant almost all the year.
To me this is the sort of thing that should be under review. It is the third such property I am aware of in this district. Another has been vacant for eighteen years and another for almost five. They could be housing families in need. I know it may well be not what those who own the property want but is it right? There surely comes a time when the needs of those willing to pay rent outweigh whatever reasons the owners first had for not doing something about it.