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Rental Housing Liveability Measure

Re: Rental Housing Liveability Measure

The topic of a rental housing liveability measure has been in the public arena for more than a decade.
The Housing NZ ‘Statement of Intent 2017 /2021’ clearly identifies a number of areas such as “Social Leadership Initiatives” that need solutions.
The Statement of Intent mirrors many other organisations that are calling for a Rental Wof process.
These include, but not limited to
• Political parties,
• The NGO sector,
• Rental housing advocacy/Union groups,
• City Councils
A common trend amongst all parties is demonstrated in this HNZC statement:
“Result …… measured by “activity engaged in and lead debates about how the sector should be responding to the needs of tenants…..”
During the past decade, no measurable outcome or process has been initiated on a nationwide, transparent, independent or consistent scale. There have however been a number of initiatives to develop a process.
• A trial of a Rental Wof program was undertaken in 2014 provided a measure of clarity as to “what a Rental Wof” should consist of.
• A process developed from the many studies and reports initiated by agencies, such as the Otago University had not developed an outcome…until now.
The outcome identified was process known as Rental Warrant of Fitness (WOF).
Housing NZ have clearly sort to achieve an outcomes to meet its stated aims on the ‘Statement of Intent’.
For example:
“Keeping our customers at the centre of our thinking”. Adrienne Young-Cooper – Chairperson. HNZC

“Look for opportunities to do things better. It is important for both our tenants and all New Zealanders.” Andrew McKenzie – Chief Executive. HNZC

In addition to these comments is the legislative framework that a process such as Rental Wof clearly provides an outcome.

Legislation requires us (HNZC) to act in a business-like manner, and to be an organisation that:
exhibits a sense of social responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which we operate
exhibits a sense of environmental responsibility by having regard to the environmental implications of our operations
Housing Corporation Act 1974

A strengthened focus on social investment
……Part of this is broadening the use of social investment in the design of social services. Through better access to and use of information, government can identify triggers that lead to poor social outcomes and intervene at the right time and in the right way to make significant improvements to people’s lives.
Better Public Services
As part of its priority to deliver better public services to New Zealanders, the Government is focused on improving the performance of the social housing sector. It is actively investing in new ways of working to drive better outcomes for New Zealanders with housing need. Central to this are the ongoing social housing reforms, and the introduction of Better Public Service (BPS) targets related to social housing……..
………..A further result area has been introduced to improve the health of children. A target has been set to reduce avoidable hospitalisations for preventable conditions in children aged 0-12 by 15 percent by 2019 and 25 percent by 2021. This will replace the immunisation and rheumatic fever targets. Children make up a large proportion of our households, with 9 percent of household occupants under five years old, and 40 percent under 18 years old. Considering the role housing can take to support health outcomes, we directly contribute to the health of children by keeping our homes healthy and safe.
A leadership role in the social housing sector
Which involves more outward-facing activity for us, including a greater level of collaboration with others to achieve improved social outcomes.

A measure of liveability of rental houses in the community is an area that clearly fits within the HNZC -Statement of Intent 2017 – 2020 and the Governments objectives.
To achieve this outcome, ‘Rental warrant of Fitness’ is a transparent, affordable, independent and measurable process.
Rental Warrant of Fitness (WOF) enables ALL of objectives of the many Government, NGO and Property agencies identified requirements to be met.
By implementing Rental Warrant of Fitness, Housing NZ Corporation, for example, can demonstrate, through leadership, that it has taken action to address the long-standing problem of measuring the liveability of a rental house.
Rental Warrant of Fitness is consistent, operational and very cost effective.
The platform in which it has been developed means it can also be adapted to meet changing legislative and social requirements.

Attached you will find the Rental Warrant of Fitness brochure, highlighting what it is, how it is used, and the benefits of this process. Also included in the brochure are my personal contact details. Please don’t hesitate to contact me for further information, questions or queries

P.S. Please review the Rental Warrant Of Fitness program against your priority list, or the example on the next page.
To achieve success in each of our roles we have indented five priorities to focus on. These reflect the active and innovative contribution we will make to the achievement of a vibrant housing sector in New Zealand.

Increase the pace and scale of housing supply
Delivering our Asset Management Strategy will require a significant amount of work, to realign our housing stock to meet the needs of our current and future tenants, and also refresh our homes as they age and reach the end of their economic/functional life.
This is primarily focused on our role in social housing, but also encompasses what we needto do to support the growth of supply of housing more generally, particularly in areas like Auckland with significant affordability challenges.
Reduce our cost of building and, in turn, influence cost in the sector
In undertaking our asset development activity we need to focus on driving the cost of construction down to ensure the scale of change required to our housing stock is financially viable.
This priority also supports our contribution to making housing more affordable by demonstrating how to drive cost out of construction, which leads to more affordable housing stock overall.
It is also an opportunity to support the sector to find the best ways of achieving asset delivery at scale.
Optimise the management of our homes
Managing our homes well is a core capability for us as a social housing provider. With over $22 billion of property, we are one of thelargest asset holders in the public sector; andso effectively managing our assets is imperative. Good management of the lifetime costs of our assets is a key driver behind us being financially sustainable and we need to continually improve in this space.
Demonstrating best practice in managing our homes also creates opportunities for us to be able to show leadership in the sector, helping to boost overall capability in the management of social housing in New Zealand.
Increase our understanding of our customers and put their needs at the centre of our decisions
As our customers change we need to keep our business relevant to their needs.
The growing complexities of our tenants mean we need to think more carefully about the best way to support them to sustain their tenancies and/or reach housing independence.
An improved understanding of our customers enables us to design coordinated services that improve social outcomes, and be more thoughtful in decisions about the design of our homes.
Use our experience to influence the performance of the housing sector
We want to be an active participant in helping to achieve the objectives of social housing reform. We are the largest social housing provider in New Zealand, and will be for the foreseeable future. We have a real opportunity to use our scale and experience to help the sector as a whole to develop successfully.
This will require us to think honestly aboutwhat our strengths are and what strengths other providers/organisations can bring to the table. We need to be focused on influencing the best way for the sector as a whole to work together to achieve the right outcomes for New Zealanders.
This priority is relevant to all our roles – from social housing to supporting the growth of the affordable housing market.

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