17 Dec 2013

Housing 'WoF' to improve rental properties

7:05 am on 17 December 2013

A national rental housing warrant of fitness - aimed at making rental housing safer - will be trialled in the new year.

The trial involves the Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin councils, the Accident Corporation Council, the New Zealand Green Building Council and the University of Otago.

The trial will begin in January and run until the end of February, with the results published in March.

Home assessment experts will evaluate 125 rental properties - 25 in each participating city.

The Christchurch City Council Housing Committee's chairperson, Glenn Livingstone, says the trial is good news for tenants, as it marks a significant first step in identifying rentals that are not fit-for-purpose.

Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown made a commitment during the recent local government elections to introduce a rental housing warrant of fitness policy.

Her council expects a relatively high fail rate on such factors as lack of insulation, dampness and inadequate heating.

The Property Investors Federation opposes a warrant of fitness for houses, saying it will drive up rent prices.