Housing Minister to set minimum standards for landlords

Posted by Dynon on June 9, 2015

Estero-PM.jpgAccording to media reports over the past day or so, rental properties will have to meet a set of minimum standards under rules to be unveiled by the Government in July. The rules will be aimed at ensuring that tenants have a safe and healthy house to live in.

This development comes in the wake of last week’s coroner's finding that the death of Emma-Lita Bourne from a brain haemorrhage could be partly blamed on the inferior condition of the state house she lived in. The house was cold and damp, the roof had leaked, and although the family had been provided with a heater they could not afford to use it.

The case has shocked New Zealanders, and the Government – it appears – is now acting quickly in response.

The new rules are likely to include a requirement for insulation, and are due to be announced next month by Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith. In tandem with a ‘warrant of fitness’ trial for state houses, the rules would apply to both private and public rentals.

The Government, however, has fallen short of imposing a warrant of fitness regime on private rental properties. Earlier in the week, the Prime Minister stated that such a regime could result in rents rising and some landlords pulling out of the market.

Home insulation – if supported by incentive schemes – is a positive move. It not only helps keep homes warm, but it also reduces power consumption, which pays environmental dividends. To what extent the Government will be prepared to help landlords meet their new standards, however, remains to be seen.

[Image: Prime Minister John Key. Source: Martin H.]