A protest for tenants’ rights marched from the bucket fountain on Cuba St to the Quinovic head office on Kent Tce on Thursday afternoon.
A protest for tenants’ rights marched from Wellington’s Bucket Fountain on Cuba St to the headquarters of the country’s largest rental agency.
The protest targeted Quinovic, who was accused of treating tenants unfairly.
“Your moldy houses are making us sick, eat shit, Quinovic,” chanted the demonstrators as they marched.
A press release from the organizers of the Tenants’ Action Wellington protest described Quinovic as ruthless and infamous, but noted that the company was “far from the only offender”.
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Quinovic CEO Grant Sheridan said the company learned about the protest through the media.
He said the protesters’ demands would require changes to the law. “As property managers, we don’t make the tenancy laws, but we are bound by them with landlords and tenants.”
Tenants’ Action Wellington leader Anne Campbell said everyone has a Quinovic story.
“We now have a situation where landlords can break the law and just expect to get away with it,” she told the crowd on Cuba St, where about 40 protesters gathered.
The group made 10 demands on which it wanted immediate action, including reducing rent prices to 25% of the lowest benefit, an end to evictions from May to September, the removal of rental deposits and the authorization pets in all apartments.
“If you’re an owner and consider yourself one of the good guys, that’s great, but you need to think about putting those requirements into practice yourself now. Tenants are not going to continue to suffer the consequences of the housing crisis,” Campbell said.
Geordie Rogers, chairman of Renters United, also spoke at the start of the protest.
“We have been fighting for years for regulation of property management. This has been happening for so long in fact that the government thought, ‘Why not make us wait until 2026,’” he said in response to boos from the crowd.
“I’m so happy that we’re all here today because we all know we can’t wait for the regulations. We need to be here to raise our voice and tell property management companies like Quinovic that they cannot continue to exploit us without resistance.
Jo Rae, head of property management at the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, said in a statement that the institute supported residential property management regulation proposed in February.
She said the regulations would set ‘industry-wide’ requirements which were important because property management could affect ‘the homes people live in’.
Sheridan said Quinovic supported reforms and agreed New Zealand needed a debate on housing regulations and affordability. The company “would welcome the opportunity” to participate in this conversation with tenants, landlords, government and the broader property management industry.