25 Feb 2016

Family housing advocate retracts HNZ criticism

4:34 pm on 25 February 2016

A family housing advocate is retracting criticism of a Housing New Zealand home as a health and safety risk.

State house in Titahi Bay, Wellington.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

A family of six, who do not want to be named, have been offered a four-bedroom property in West Auckland, nearly five years after they first applied for a state house.

The family say the house is damp and unsafe for their children.

Earlier today, the family's advocate, Iain Davies, told RNZ News he had not visited the house but from photographs he had seen the home was a health and safety risk.

He said they had been told repairs would happen once they had moved in, but given past experience he doubted that would happen.

However, after visiting the property this afternoon, Mr Davies said it appeared contractors had been in over the last week to fix some of the problems such as dampness under the house.

"Actually the house looks OK, we can work with it. The issues that have still got to be fixed are not fundamental, they can be fixed, they can be rectified reasonably easy.

"With this commitment from Housing New Zealand to ensure this house is as dry as possible for this family, I think that's good, that's a good outcome."

Housing New Zealand said the family had agreed to sign the tenancy agreement tomorrow and were satisfied with the home's condition. Repair work had been completed.

"Maintenance and repair work to the property included installing new thermal curtains and a new heater, as well as general repairs and maintenance such as cleaning the carpet," a spokesperson said.

"While we do undertake general maintenance and repair to homes with tenants in them, we would not move any family into a home that needed repair at the start of their tenancy.

"No Housing New Zealand tenant should be living in a house that's cold and damp - we have been doing all we can to ensure that our homes are warm, safe and dry for our tenants."

Housing New Zealand said it had so far committed around $52 million to a warm and dry housing programme.