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17-12-2013

Rentals tested next month

Private rental properties will come under the spotlight in new council “warrant of fitness” testing.

From January, 25 rental properties in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin will be tested against 31 criteria, including things such as warmth, dryness, mould, dampness, injury risk, sanitation, and living needs.

Each assessment should take about an hour. Private rental properties and council houses are being evaluated. The Government has already signalled it wants a WOF system for use in Housing New Zealand propeorties, with the potential to then be used on private rentals.

Auckland mayor Len Brown said it was well known that New Zealand’s housing stock wasn’t great by international standards.

“We are working with the government, not-for-profit and private sectors to tackle Auckland’s housing affordability and availability challenges, so it is only fitting we take a joint approach to improving housing quality, especially for the more vulnerable members of our community,” says Len Brown. “The dampness of many of our older homes is well documented as contributing to respiratory and allergic disorders such as asthma and rheumatic fever.”

He said the tests would be an important step towards standardising methodologies and checklists between local government bodies to ensure the credibility of the WOF scheme. The properties tested will not be given a WOF as it is just a trial.

But landlords will be given the findings and information on things such as insulation schemes.

The assessment tool was developed by the NZ Green Building Council and University of Otago (Wellington) with feedback and input from the five councils, ACC and other housing experts.

Leigh Featherstone, Homestar Director at the New Zealand Green Building Council, said: “We hope that by the end of this project there’ll be a working tool to rate rental standards nationally. This will make sure rental housing isn’t endangering the health of the families living in it. The long-term payoff will be better health, particularly of our kids and elderly.”

Tags: leigh featherstone

Source: http://www.landlords.co.nz/article/4944/rentals-tested-next-month

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