Government reveals what's being considered for new rental standards

The Government has opened consultation for new standards on rental homes, revealing what measures are being considered.

The Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill passed its third reading in November 2017, it allowed standards to be set on rental homes, but did not set out what those standards would be.

Five new standards have now been suggested - heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture ingress and drainage and draught stopping.

A new discussion document has set out how the Government would include those goals including minimum indoor temperatures, when insulation should be replaced and what kind of ventilation would be required.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford says the new measures would allow families living in rental homes to be happier and healthier.

"Many rental homes are cold, damp, and mouldy which can contribute to a range of health issues including respiratory conditions, toxic reactions and allergies," he said.

"Such illnesses can affect people's employment and economic opportunities because they have to take more sick days, and affect children's educational outcomes because they are off school more."

Submissions on the discussion document can be made in writing to the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) before October 22, 2018 and the standards will be in place by July 1 2019.

But there have been some criticism of the proposed changes. Property Investors Federation CEO Andrew King said the cost of being compliant would fall on tenants.

"In the end tenants will be paying for this, and we don't want to have to put rents up too much so we just want to make sure it's nicely balanced," he said.

Tenant Advocacy Group Renters United told Newshub it was disappointed with the discussion document's suggestion on enforcement and believes the regime needs to be stricter.

 "We don't think that there will be very high levels of compliance because in the document it seems that enforcement's going to be left to tenants," said spokesperson Anna Mooney.

"We think that that is definitely the main issue with the changes."

The document suggests both proactive and reactive enforcement to ensure compliance through education, incentives and perhaps enquiring landlords to submit documentation to show they meet a particular standard.

It notes chief executive of MBIE has the power to implement programmes for inspecting premises if they would like to.

Ms Mooney said there would need to be some sort of universal inspection strategy for the standards that required houses to have a certificate of compliance before they could be rented.


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