Over a third of Kiwis rent. That's nearly 600,000 households. Many of these homes are cold and damp.
These living conditions aren't just unpleasant - they're unhealthy.
Sadly, many tenants simply put up with it because they feel there’s no other option, or because they think that complaining about it puts them at risk of being evicted.
We want to make life better for renters by making rental properties warmer and drier.
We're seeking solutions for a number of issues facing our renting households today. We want to set minimum standards for rental homes, and find clear, effective ways to keep our Kiwi renters warm, dry, and healthy.
We know rental homes are more likely to be older and of poorer quality than owner-occupied homes. In fact, New Zealand rental homes are typically well below World Health Organization recommended indoor temperatures. They also often lack adequate heating and do not have an appropriate level of ventilation or insulation.
The illnesses people can get from living in a cold, damp, and mouldy homes are wide-ranging, from respiratory conditions, toxic reactions, and allergies. In turn, these illnesses can affect people's jobs because they have to take more sick days, and affect children's education when they have to take days off school. We cannot as a country continue to see 40,000 of our children sent to hospital every year with housing-related illnesses.
Healthy homes standards will set minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, and draught stopping in residential rental properties.
By setting clear standards in these areas, we will go a long way to improving the quality of rental homes. These measures can also improve the energy efficiency of homes, and reduce the costs to maintain and keep them warm and dry, benefiting both tenants and landlords.
Our goal is to develop clear, modern standards to improve heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture ingress, drainage and draught stopping in rental homes.
We have the opportunity to improve the quality of rental homes and create warm, dry environments for every Kiwi.
These healthy homes standards follow the passing of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act 2017 last December and are part of the Government’s commitment to make life better for renters.
Over the next seven weeks we want to hear from people about what they think of the proposed standards. We’re also seeking feedback on the timing and phasing for when landlords must comply with the standards.
The discussion document and an online survey are available at www.mbie.govt.nz/healthy-homes
Consultation is open for seven weeks with submissions closing at 6pm on Monday 22 October.