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May 26, 2014 | by  | in News |
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Improvements to Rental Properties Warranted

94 per cent of New Zealand homes failed a trial rental WoF assessment, but a mandatory rental WoF scheme is still a long way away.

144 state homes from across New Zealand failed the new Warrant of Fitness (WoF) assessment, according to home-assessment specialists.

The checklist contains 31 specific criteria which include general safety, weather-tightness, insulation, ventilation, appliance health, heat and light. The 94 per cent that failed did not meet at least one of the required standards.

Trial organisers said that around 36 per cent of tested homes required minor fixes of under $150 to pass the WoF. Smoke-alarm batteries and water-temperature adjustments were the most basic fixes.

40 per cent of houses did not pass the water-temperature check, and 30 per cent of bedrooms did not have a working smoke alarm within three metres of the bedroom.

Minister of Housing Nick Smith announced the plan for state housing in New Zealand in February. There was no plan to include private rentals in the WoF testing.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown is no longer proposing a local bill on rental WoFs, as there is a private member’s bill on the same issue.

The local-bill proposal was announced by Wade-Brown at a Housing Forum held at Victoria during the run-up to last year’s mayoral election, with the support of VUWSA.

A spokesperson for Mayor Wade-Brown said “there’s not likely to be a ‘local bill’ as such, because it’s a very resource-intensive path to follow.”

They said the Healthy Homes Bill, which is before Parliament, “calls for very similar things to what we’re wanting to achieve with the rental-WoF initiative.”

“We expect [the bill] will have first reading any time from July to October; however, it could be kicked to beyond the election.”

Welfare Vice-President of VUWSA, Rick Zwaan, said that VUWSA was “working closely with Council on the project, and we’re keen to get student flats involved in the next phase of the trial.”

“Too many students are currently paying way too much to live in frankly unsanitary conditions. Mandatory rental WoFs are vital in helping fix this.”

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