LAWGENRL 439 : Housing Law and Policy


2024 Summer School (1240) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An examination of the law and policy relating to residential housing including: human rights and social equity considerations; the role of government and social policy on housing; forms of housing ownership; residential tenancy legislation; regulating the private rental market; measures to ensure safe and habitable housing; retirement housing; housing for disabled persons; and housing following natural disasters.

Course Overview

This course explores the social, economic, and legal aspects of peoples’ aspirations and legitimate expectations for aordable, habitable, and healthy housing. The course traverses a broad range of social, political, and legal issues and examines many aspects of law that are relevant to this topic, including property, contract, public, and human rights law. The course will include the following areas of specific focus:
  • whether there is a 'right to housing', including the historical origins of social housing law and policy, and current international and domestic measures relating to housing;
  • the various regulatory and policy measures that apply to housing in New Zealand today;
  • the various mechanisms for owning and/or occupying residential premises and homes;
  • legal and policy measures designed to ensure an acceptable level of quality and habitability for housing stock; and
  • the provision of housing for specic and disadvantaged groups within society, and in times of crisis and natural disaster.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: LAW 301 Restriction: LAWGENRL 438

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Laws

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Evaluate the extent to which housing is regarded as a basic human right both internationally and within New Zealand. (Capability 1.2, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2 and 5.1)
  2. Identify the historical development of housing policy, social housing and tenancy protection legislation in Aotearoa New Zealand. (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1 and 5.1)
  3. Describe forms of ownership and occupation of housing, including issues of habitability and structural integrity of housing. (Capability 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2 and 5.1)
  4. Critically evaluate the role of government in social housing in New Zealand, including the provision of housing to disadvantaged, differently abled and elderly people. (Capability 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 6.1 and 8.1)
  5. Critically evaluate the role of government and legal obligations in relation to housing for Māori, and evaluate Māori housing initiatives. (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 6.1 and 8.1)
  6. Identify and analyse the social, economic and legal factors contributing to housing shortages in New Zealand. (Capability 1.2, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 4.2, 5.1 and 8.1)
  7. Identify the challenges to provision of housing in post-disaster and pandemic environments. (Capability 2.1, 3.2, 4.2, 5.1 and 8.1)
  8. Demonstrate effective analytical, oral and written communication skills, both in a collaborative and individual context. (Capability 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 and 8.1)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Essay 30% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 60% Individual Coursework
Quizzes (2 x) 10% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Final Exam
Quizzes (2 x)

Workload Expectations

This is a standard 15-point course. There will be around 24 hours of seminars in this course. As a general guide, you should expect a workload of four hours outside of the classroom for each hour spent in class. The guideline for the total workload for this course is 150 hours.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including seminars to complete components of the course. Lectures will be available as recordings. The activities for the course are scheduled as a block delivery over two weeks for three hours per day four days per week. Attendance on campus is not required for the exam.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

The primary texts that will be referred to in Part 2 of the course are D Grinlinton, Residential Tenancies: The Law and Practice (4th edition, 2012, LexisNexis, Wellington), and Stewart Benson, Residential Tenancy Law in New Zealand (Thomson Reuters, Wellington, 2018).
Students should purchase the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.
Other texts that students will find useful include:
  • D Cowan, Housing Law and Policy (2011, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge);
  • N Campbell, T Collins, J Foster, T Gibbons, J Goodall, D W McMorland, S Scott & P Twist, Principles of Land Law in New Zealand (3rd edition, 2020, LexisNexis, Wellington) [generally on real property law, and specifically chapters 12 (Residential Tenancies) and 14 (Unit Titles and Cross-Leases)];
  • J Hohmann, The Right to Housing: Law, Concepts, Possibilities (2013, Hart, Oxford)
  • E Toomey (Gen Ed), New Zealand Land Law (3rd ed, 2015, Brookers, Wellington).

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Following previous iterations of this course improvements have been made to the scheduling and content based on feedback from students.

Other Information

The course is taught through lectures, starting on 30 January and ending on Friday 9 February. In person lectures will be held at 4-7pm each day on Tuesday 30 January - Friday 2 February, Monday 5 February, and then Wednesday 7 February - Friday 9 February (Tuesday 6 February is Waitangi Day - a public holiday). 
Lectures will be held 'in person' on Campus in the Stone Lecture Theatre, Room 801:316, Building 801, 9 Eden Crescent.
Questions during lectures are encouraged as far as the presentation format allows.
Oce hours will be conrmed nearer the time. Oce hours provide an excellent opportunity to clarify areas of misunderstanding or ask lingering questions about the course content.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course director, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a Student Academic and Support Adviser as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 01/11/2023 10:58 a.m.