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July 29, 2013 | by  | in News |
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Warrant of Fitness Warranted; DCC to See

VUWSA is watching on as the Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA) tries to join forces with the Dunedin City Council (DCC) to improve student housing.

OUSA is hoping to get a local Bill before Parliament that would set up a warrant-of-fitness scheme for rental properties. Students are calling for warmer, drier and healthier student flats, and hope to enforce a minimum standard for rental properties through Government legislation.

Although still in the initial stages of discussion, OUSA hopes the local Bill will raise rental houses to what OUSA President Francisco Hernandez called a “first-world standard”. The Government has previously showed signs of considering such schemes, but the issue at hand is that landlords need to “up their game”, says Hernandez.

VUWSA President Rory McCourt said OUSA’s approach was a “really interesting idea”, but stated VUWSA will be closely watching the progress in Otago before looking at anything similar.

Earlier this year in March, VUWSA sought a bylaw to introduce minimum rental-housing standards. Wellington City Councillor Iona Pannett said then that regulation for minimum housing standards would be best brought in at the national level.

“I think there’s quite a big appetite in Wellington at the moment for it, and the Wellington City Council has an opportunity to be a leader in this and show central government how it can work,” said VUWSA President Rory McCourt in March.

If successful, Otago’s local Bill would only change local law, not national law, meaning Wellington flats would not be affected.

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