Safe and healthy homes
All rental housing should be warm, healthy and safe. Much of our private rental housing stock is cold, drafty and poorly maintained. Even where higher legal standards do exist, the burden of enforcing these standards falls on individual renters. Poor quality rental housing makes renters sick and costs our health system and economy hundreds of millions of dollars every year. We need higher standards that are properly enforced and we need them now.
Our plan for safe and healthy homes
- Raise minimum quality standards for all rental housing to the level set out in the He Kainga Oranga Rental Warrant of Fitness, which includes both safety and health requirements. Rental properties must have a certificate showing compliance in order to be tenanted at all.
- Legislate minimum standards for reasonable amenities in rental housing, including laundry and kitchen facilities.
- Consolidate all pre-existing and new standards into a single definitive quality standard.
- Create a Rental Housing Quality Grade system to incentivise improvements beyond the minimum standard. This would be similar to the food hygiene grades for restaurants.
- Fund and empower local authorities to enforce the quality standard alongside their comparable duties for new-build housing (building consents), commercial property (building WOFs and earthquake-prone buildings) and other public health matters (food hygiene, sanitation).
- Allow renters to make reasonable modifications they need to access and be safe in their home. This could include the installation of ramps and handrails, silent fire alarms and other such safety and access facilities.
- Allow local authorities to supplement the national quality standard to take into account specific regional needs, for example, resilience in earthquake-prone regions or ventilation in warmer climates.
- Introduce a regular review of the standard (to address new evidence and practice, including changes to the Building Code), and the effectiveness of enforcement.
The latest on safe and healthy homes
- Renters United submission on WCC Draft Annual Plan 2017More than 180 renters made submissions to the Wellington City Council in support of our call for action this year towards introducing a rental WOF. Our example submission is below, though many renters added their own personal experiences, telling powerful stories of the poor quality of many rental homes in Wellington. Dear councillors, Please add… More →
- Submission on Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (no.2)Renters United made both a written and an oral submission on Andrew Little’s Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill. Written submission↓ Oral submission↓ Written submission Wellington Renters United is an organisation founded in 2014 to organise renters and campaign to make renting better for everyone in Wellington. The majority of our members are private renters in the… More →
- Our submission on the Residential Tenancies Amendment BillToday Renters United made our oral submission to the Social Services Select Committee. Here are the key points we made and at the end is a copy of our full submission. Oral submission speaking notes Wellington Renters United is an organisation founded in 2014 to organise renters and campaign to make renting better for everyone… More →
- Being close to my son means living in an unhealthy home: Glen’s storyby Glen I moved into my house in April 2013. It is a two bedroom house and I pay $360 a week. My son stays with me three nights a week. That first winter was cold and damp, and I started a long series of emails to the property manager requesting improvements. There was no action until… More →
- Life in a damp home: Kayla’s storyBy Kayla Healey This is my open letter to everybody who has found themselves living in an unsafe home. You are not alone and people care. I want to share my experience with unsafe damp and mouldy housing with the world for two reasons. The first reason is to send a message to people living… More →