REINZ is very supportive of the proposed healthy homes standards, but this needs to be implemented in a way that finds a balance for landlords rather than causing them to withdraw from the market given the raft of legislative changes currently in the market.
Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at REINZ says: “REINZ welcomes the announcement from the Housing and Urban Development Minister yesterday around the healthy homes standards. It’s shocking to think about the sheer number of Kiwis that live in sub-par housing and get sick as a result of cold/damp homes. We applaud the Minister for introducing these new measures to help make rental homes healthier for tenants.
“However, we would like to see these changes introduced in a way that achieves a balance rather than causing landlords additional costs which are likely to then be passed on to tenants in the form of rent increases. If the Government can help offset some of the cost to private landlords via subsidies or access to discounted pricing, this would likely be a deterrent from putting up rents and could reduce any disincentives for private landlords to leave the market thereby further reducing rental stock,” continues Norwell.
REINZ would also like to see an exemption from the need for bathroom extractor fans for landlords who fit bathrooms with a shower-steam dome.
“Shower-steam domes can be cheaper and quicker to install than an extractor fan and don’t require a registered electrician for installation. They also don’t have an ongoing cost from a tenant’s perspective. Therefore, we would like the Housing and Urban Development Authority to consider providing an exemption for landlords who install a shower-steam dome as they are considered an extremely effective form of containing shower moisture which is the main cause of mould and dampness in bathrooms,” says Norwell.
REINZ also echoes concerns made by the New Zealand Green Building Council that Housing New Zealand homes have an additional two years to meet the new standards.
“Yesterday’s announcements will do a great deal to improve the private rental stock, however, surely the Government should have to meet the same deadlines as private landlords? We don’t think this is an unreasonable expectation,” says Norwell.
“Finally, we welcome the Minister’s announcement that online tools will be published later in the year for landlords and tenants to determine the heating requirements for their living room and that landlords and tenants will not have to measure temperatures inside the home. We also look forward to the guidance that will be available for complying with other aspects of the standards. This will be essential information for our Property Managers to ensure the communicate the appropriate requirements with landlords and tenants while the standards are implemented,” concludes Norwell.