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Trial WoF for Rental Properties - Opinion

Trial WoF for Rental Properties - Opinion

The results of the recent collaboration between five councils regarding the inspection of 144 rental properties to determine if a Warrant of Fitness scheme has potential has been released and shows 58% require repairs and maintenance in excess of $150 to achieve the proposed standard.

Within this 58%, the issues vary from changes to balustrades & handrails to insulation of floors and ceilings.

The remaining 42% have minor issues, such as missing window stays, blown light bulbs and flat smoke detector batteries.

The standards of all houses in New Zealand vary – both owner-occupied and rented – but are we losing sight of the fact that tenants have the right to choose where they live and the level of quality of the house?

Just as a vehicle sold without a WoF is markedly cheaper than one with a WoF, a house of a lesser level of quality is cheaper than one that is well maintained.

Everyone is entitled to live in a dwelling which fits within their budget, be it $140 or $1000 per week.

By introducing legislation which will ultimately increase the cost of rentals, many tenants will be forced to move as landlords increase the prices.

As well as the inevitable increase in the cost to tenants, the other flow-on effect will be that some landlords will not be able to afford to, or want to, complete the work required to obtain the WoF and will sell. This will have the unwanted effect of reducing the number of rental properties available and pushing up rents.

Should we not be encouraging tenants to become more knowledgeable about their rights and options when viewing a rental property and speak up if they believe maintenance issues need to be addressed?

If prospective tenants refuse to rent a property that does not meet their requirements, landlords will be forced to upgrade the property in order to attract suitable tenants.

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