Wellington City Council proposes warrant of fitness for rental homes

You've heard of a warrant for your car - but how about for your home? The Wellington City Council is proposing just that for rental properties.

While renters are welcoming the scheme, the Government says it isn't needed.

With plants growing through the floor and holes in the roof, Mel Young reckons her Wellington rental is a bit of a dump.

"You can see where the wood is rotting and there's also quite a bit of mould… Considering the amount that the landlords are charging me to live here is a bit of rip off to be honest."

Wellington City Council is introducing warrant of fitness checks to help bring homes like Ms Young's up to scratch.

"Pretty basic stuff that most houses should have," Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says. "If they don't, hopefully landlords will want to improve that."

The scheme is voluntary and there are no penalties.

Rental homes must meet 29 criteria to pass the warrant, including having a functional safe oven, effective heating, only a small amount of visible mould, insulation, and it must be weathertight.

Ms Young says her home wouldn't meet some of the criteria.

Robert Whitaker from Wellington Renters United says it's a great idea, but thinks it needs to be mandatory.

"It'll be interesting to see how much it's taken up by landlords so that's obviously the big determinant about whether or not it makes a difference."

Both Auckland and Christchurch councils are watching the scheme closely.

Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith says current rules are working.

"What we don't want to do is slap a $100m of costs on having clipboard Charlies having to hop around and check properties."

Renters Newshub spoke to are hopeful the scheme will improve rental homes.

However, they say they're unlikely to raise any problems with their landlord over fears of being moved on. They say it's better to have a damp home, than none at all.