‘Tenants should not be living in rentals such as the five selected for a visit last week by a Member of Parliament, “says Andrew King, Executive Officer of the NZ Property Investors’ Federation (NZPIF).
“The Tenancy Tribunal requires houses to be in a proper state before they can be offered as rentals. The protection for tenants is therefore already in place.”
“Members of Associations affiliated to the NZPIF are very aware of the need to provide quality rentals and are influenced by the ethical standards of their organisations. It’s not so easy to influence other non-member landlords.” he says.
The NZPIF believes there are a number of targeted ways to ensure tenants are in a position to make choices.
The first is to provide tangible support to tenants who feel reluctant to make use of current legal protection provided by the Tenancy Tribunal. The second is to provide incentives to all landlords to insulate and provide heating for those rentals which currently do not have these items. The third is to provide low income families with fuel vouchers during the winter months to encourage these families to turn on the heating and to open curtains to benefit from any sun there might be.
The Minister of Housing is quoted as saying that a warrant of fitness could take about 60,000 rental properties off the market as it is impossible to get under the floor or in the ceiling cavity to put in insulation. This would have a large negative impact on the supply of rental housing, making the situation more desperate.
“The NZPIF is very keen to see that any assistance reaches those who really need it” says King. “Insulation is only one aspect. Some of the items suggested for a broad based warrant of fitness would just increase the costs of providing rental housing without improving the living standards of those struggling to afford warm and dry housing now.”
“A child with poor health because of damp and cold living conditions will remain unwell if the increase in rent paid by his family means they don't turn on their heater. A tenant with unacceptable maintenance issues will continue to live with these unless he or she is supported when using the legal means to challenge them through the Tenancy Tribunal.”
“Let’s do something to improve the situation which has been highlighted, but let’s focus on actions which improve the conditions for those who really need it”.