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Conor Hill wants changes to ensure healthy homes

Media release from Conor Hill
Mayoral candidate Conor Hill wants to ensure all Wellingtonians live in healthy homes. He says let’s do this by making the Wellington City Council’s Rental Warrant of Fitness freely available to people who rent, and by providing advocacy services so that people have the legal support they need when renting an unhealthy home.

Hill said: “Like much of Justin Lester’s policy platform, the rental WoF is a great idea, poorly executed. The idea is to provide healthy homes for people who rent. The issue is that it is voluntary, and only landlords can request it. So far only two properties have received a rental WoF. Wellington’s people who rent are no healthier.

“Almost every Wellingtonian has rented a cold, mouldy, draughty, unhealthy home. It’s not good enough and it needs to change.

“Let’s change the rental WOF so that people who rent can request a free rental WoF. If someone is renting a cold, mouldy, or draughty home, they should be able to request a free inspection to see whether or not the home meets central government’s healthy homes standard and would receive a rental WoF. The process would be much the same as the current landlord’s rental WoF, it’s just that it would happen on a renter’s invitation.”

If a home did not meet the healthy homes standards, then a tenant can take the landlord to the tenancy tribunal for up to $4000 under current legislation. It’s here that the second part of Hill’s plan kicks in. He wants to see tenant advocacy services funded by the council.

“It’s clear that current support for people who rent is not appropriate, as tenants currently make up a tiny minority of applicants to the tenancy tribunal. People need support when the homes they are living in are unhealthy. The council should fund tenant advocacy services, so that people who rent have the support they need when applying to the tenancy tribunal, particularly for anything related to unhealthy homes.”

Notes

– Healthy homes standards can be found here.
– In the 2017 year, only 2,408 of the 18,530 applications to the tenancy tribunal were from tenants. The rest were from landlords.
– The current rental WoF costs $250. Initially council could fund up to one thousand rental WoF inspections a year for people who rent. This would cost a maximum of $250,000 per annum.
– Initially the advocacy service could be funded for 2 – 3 staff members at a cost of around $250,000 a year.

11 comments:

  1. Madeleine Simpson, 29. August 2019, 9:48

    The WOF scheme is a bad central govt idea. We already have a process for rental disputes. Carrying out functions of Tenancy Tribunal is not a function of WCC. You can check the property is suitable before you rent so all this needless costly bureaucracy does not happen.
    Two things that can be done to lessen the cold and mold: stop drying clothes inside and use a heater.

     
  2. Groggy, 29. August 2019, 12:31

    “So far only two properties have received a rental WoF. Wellington’s people who rent are no healthier.” And how much has been spent so far setting this up?

     
  3. Blind Eel, 29. August 2019, 13:20

    Let’s reduce rates and code of compliance fees so people can afford to renovate these cold mouldy houses.

    Housing standards should be administered at a national level. We need to move away from every council in NZ replicating the same thing.

     
  4. Hel, 29. August 2019, 20:40

    Some of the worst homes in Wellington are owned by the Council or central Government. Try getting your own house in order before lecturing private landlords.

     
  5. Paul Day, 29. August 2019, 21:07

    Totally agree that a WoF system that only landlords can request is an injustice. Those most impacted by poorly maintained rental properties should be entitled to request them and the landlord should be paying for them. It’s the cost of the landlord doing business and making a profit.

    And sorry @Madeleine it’s rather presumptuous to suggest that moldy damp homes are the tenants’ fault. What evidence do you have to back that up? Lets try not demonising tenants over what is a far more complex problem.

     
  6. steve doole, 30. August 2019, 6:55

    NZ excels at poor quality housing.
    Perhaps some is related to emphasis on house price increases with minimal maintenance spend.
    Also many landlords appear to aim to have tenants pay for their property, so they gain financially in both ways.
    Not so their tenants, whose health can be compromised – yes, unfortunately some contribute by their own actions, but all tenants ought to be able to call for inspection.
    Government and Councils correctly have an interest in avoiding slum conditions, and all the health and social issues generated.
    Landlords who object to meeting the standards for tenanted properties could look for other ways to make money.

     
  7. Madeleine Simpson, 30. August 2019, 13:22

    The Tenancy Tribunal already is open for tenants investigating any failures by landlords under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.
    HHGA is short sighted and will just increase the cost of rentals.

     
  8. Northland, 30. August 2019, 20:51

    If you agree that a Warrant of Fitness is a good idea for a car, you should also agree it’s a good idea for a house.

    Totally agree with Conor’s plan here. Let’s bring NZ rentals out of the dark ages and up to modern day standards for warmth and liveability.

     
  9. Jane C, 31. August 2019, 18:58

    Agree with you Madeleine.
    This is just pushing the same agenda … bringing up the price of rents. We already have tenant inspections and protections in place.

    Northland: Your logic is flawed as a house is not a car.

     
  10. Vivian, 22. September 2019, 13:40

    If WoF is good for cars, it should be good for bikes. All bikes need to have a full check to make sure they do not harm anyone on the road and they need to be licensed. I will not disagree if bike riders need to have license as well. We should have a mandatory check on all appliances every year and a person must throw away or repair them to the standard. When you resell your old appliances on trademe, WoF can make you sell a better price, so why not.

     
  11. Eric B., 22. September 2019, 20:03

    yet more bureaucracy!