Dunedin bureau manager Ngaire Duke prepares for Citizens
Advice Bureau awareness week in Dunedin yesterday. The
week's focus is on the rights and responsibilities of
renters and landlords. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Citizens Advice Bureau awareness week started yesterday,
with a focus on rental housing.
Citizens Advice Bureau Dunedin manager Ngaire Duke said the
Dunedin bureau covered the greater Dunedin area, with calls
received from Waikouaiti, Middlemarch, Kaitangata and
The service provided free information and advice on
everything ''from a bus timetable right through to a
The Dunedin bureau responded to more than 10,000 calls last
A consumer team was available to discuss consumer law on a
Tuesday and the advocacy team was available on a Monday, she
The team would ''help with tenancy issues and we get quite a
bit of ACC clients who have got a review and don't want to go
on their own.''
Advocates also provided support at Work and Income meetings,
The awareness week focused on the rights and responsibilities
of renters and landlords, which was a big issue in Dunedin,
''It's usually disputes between flatmates because they are
not covered by the Residential Tenancy Act.''
Tenancy Services were unable to help such residents, who
were referred to the bureau to settle disputes, for example
over ''a flatmate that doesn't get on with another flatmate
and they want to know how they can get them out of the
flat,'' Mrs Duke said.
Another common dispute was when a flatmate owed money and
left suddenly, she said.
Renters living in a damp and unhealthy flat often came to the
bureau to get out of a fixed-term lease, she said.
The bureau had more than 11,000 inquiries about rental
housing in New Zealand each year, Mrs Duke said.
Top 10 most requested
Citizens Advice Bureau top 10 topics were. -
• Relationships including separation, child custody.
• Citizenship and immigration.
• Legal services.
• Consumer law.
• Rental housing.
• Conditions of work including employment contracts,
• Budgeting and general financial difficulties.
• Income support.
• Goods and services including online auctions, telemarketing
and direct sales.
• Communication including phone services.