Renters United submission on WCC Draft Annual Plan 2017

May 20, 2017 12:39 pm

More 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 concrete steps towards a Rental Warrant of Fitness (WoF) into this year’s Annual Plan.

Right now too many Wellington renters live in cold, damp and unsafe houses that are making them sick. Council needs to take action on the quality of housing in Wellington.

Last year I was heartened to see Mayor Justin Lester campaign on introducing a mandatory rental WoF. According to VUWSA, 8 of the 13 elected councillors pledged to “take all possible steps” to make it happen.

Sadly, the draft Annual Plan does not include a single step towards introducing the WoF.

Please fix this by adding two first steps into your Annual Plan that will lay the groundwork for the WoF and start helping renters now:

1) Begin independent rental inspections. Council public health officers (PHOs) should be trained to inspect against the He Kainga Oranga Warrant of Fitness, the Public Health Act and the upcoming Wellington housing standard. Renters should be able to request an inspection and receive a written report that they can share with their landlord or use to enforce their rights. If demand warrants it, the council should increase the number of PHOs.

2) Fund a comprehensive advocacy service for renters. Under current legislation, the primary way that the rental house will improve is by individual renters asserting their right to a safe and healthy home. The Council should support this by funding a dedicated tenancy advocacy service designed and lead by renters.

Please introduce these two steps into the Annual Plan for 2017/18. Starting now is essential for you to get a WoF introduced this Council term.

Thanks for taking the health of renters seriously and living up to your election promise to introduce a rental WoF.

As well as the more that 180 submission by our members, Renters United made a larger submission giving more context and detail about our proposed changes to the draft Annual Plan:

Renters United submission on Draft Annual Plan (PDF, 66kb)

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