The Green Party have launched a petition calling on the Government’s Healthy Homes Standards to be backed up with a proper Warrant of Fitness (WoF) for rental homes.
Auckland Central and Green Party MP Chloe Swarbrick believes the Healthy Homes Standards are good first step in ensuring rental properties are warm and dry but they go far enough.
“The Government’s Healthy Homes Standards are an important step but they’re not very enforceable,” Swarbrick said.
“If there’s a problem, people who rent have to actively complain to the Tenancy Tribunal, but the power imbalance between renters and landlords means many renters are nervous about doing that.”
Swarbrick suggested that rental homes should pass the rental WoF before a tenancy begins, much a like a car is tested before it is road worthy.
“We don’t wait for rental cars to crash before we safety-test them; we require rental car companies to get regular WoF safety checks. People who rent their home shouldn’t have to get sick or complain before the safety of their home is tested and guaranteed.
“A WoF for rental homes would cover Healthy Homes Standards for heating, insulation, and ventilation as well as other basic features all homes should have, like safe electrical wiring, smoke alarms, and secure locks on doors and windows. Too often homes are rented out – at extreme cost – without these basic necessities.”
The Greens have made regular calls for a rental WoF and in 2017 the Wellington City Council launched a voluntary rental warrant of fitness scheme.