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Residential Tenancies Act

It is our view that the majority of New Zealand housing stock performs poorly regarding staying warm and dry. This is especially the case regarding a significant proportion of our rental properties.

CEN strongly supports any legislative approach that seek to impose a minimum standard and thereby improve the quality of our rental housing stock. Of course, a voluntary approach is preferable but, where required, legislation should be in place. Key issues include:

  • As the recent BRANZ House Condition Survey has revealed, many rental properties are performing well below where they need to be to ensure the residents are able to maintain their health in a cost effective manner.
  • The recently amended RTA, with an emphasis on improving insulation standards, are supported although they do not go far enough.
  • CEN believes that the changes to requirements through the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill are appropriate but, given the current relatively low performance of many rentals, it should not be expected that Landlords pay for all improvements in the relatively short period provided for in the Bill.

Responses to issues mentioned above:

  • As the Government has done through the Warm Up NZ programme, there should be a subsidy offered for landlords over the next 5 years to ensure the modifications are made and to a suitable standard. Where landlords receive subsidised improvements to their properties, they could be required to enter in to an agreement that ensures that the rent does not go up as a direct consequence.
  • An alternative option could be the use of mandatory ‘healthy home’ reports for any home prior to being sold or rented. This would not necessarily require a minimum standard but would ensure full disclosure of all key issues that will cause the home to be unhealthy, including both structural and behavioural requirements. These reports would be similar to the proposed WOF albeit simpler to understand and cheaper to complete. This approach would enable a more sophisticated discussion between stakeholders.