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.