Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Is a WOF for rental properties the answer?

Is a WOF for rental properties the answer?

Wellington Council is introducing a voluntary Warrant of Fitness for rental properties that they intend to make compulsory in three years. The council says that they want to raise standards and that "every Wellingtonian deserves a warm dry home".

"The Property Investors' Federation agrees with this sentiment” says Andrew King, executive officer. “That's why we supported the rental property minimum standards introduced by Government last year, making insulation in rental properties compulsory by 2019.”

“Ninety two percent of our members’ rental properties are already insulated, with just 17% needing extra insulation to make the new standards”, says King. “This was achieved by the NZPIF negotiating genuine discounts on insulation and heating products for our members. We have also encouraged and educated members on the benefits in providing a good standard of rental property.”

Rental advocacy groups say that the health of tenants is a key reason for needing a rental property WOF. Unfortunately it isn't that easy. The sad case of a two year old girl dying partly because her house was cold demonstrates this. This Housing NZ home she lived in had insulation, a ventilation system and a heat pump, so would have passed Wellington's WOF. A WOF is not the answer to keeping children out of hospital.

A rental property WOF and all its associated costs would be applicable to all rental properties while targeting help for those families who actually have a health related issue would have significantly better results for those in need.

Making it easier and cheaper for rental property owners to provide insulation and energy efficient heating would be of more benefit to tenants than employing an army of clipboard holders to inspect every rental property in New Zealand.

Victoria University Students' Association supports a compulsory WOF. Their president, Rory Lenihan-Ikin, says "Every day we see students getting sick in cold, mouldy flats and having no power to change it".

This is not quite true. There are currently 370 rental properties available to rent in the central Wellington. If their rental accommodation is not suitable, students can move to accommodation that is. However it is a reality that this accommodation will cost more.

The average cost of rental property in the Wellington Central suburbs is $451. However the average price of rentals that promote having a heat pump is $545. Naturally there will be other factors apart from heat pumps producing this result, but it shows that rentals with better quality features will cost more.

Students do have the "power to change" but they may not want to pay the extra cost.

Proponents of a rental property WOF do not believe that tenants can examine a rental property and determine if it is suitable for them or not. They believe that this needs to be undertaken by an official with the cost ultimately born by the tenant. An additional problem is that once installed, there will be academics and policy officials whose role will be to "improve" the WOF.

Past calls for a rental WOF have included a maximum age for rental properties so tenants could have newer rentals, specific types of cladding (such as brick) and orientation of the rental towards the sun. Most people would agree that these are not sensible or desirable requirements for rentals, but you can be sure that new requirements and costs would continue to be added over time.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Election Day Results

2017 General Election - Preliminary Count

National won 46% of the vote with Labour on 35.8%.

NZ First won 7.5%, with the Greens on 5.8%.

ACT held on to Epsom, but failed to get more MPs.

The Maori Party were wiped out of Parliament.

There are still special votes to be counted, but clearly National is in the box seat to form the next Government.

The Greens can not contemplate a deal with National.

So, Winston Peters will have to make a choice and could back National or a combined Labour/Green coalition.

The most likely result is National and NZ First will reach some sort of deal to form the next government.

Election Night Results

Advance Voting Statistics

General Election Information: Voters - Who, When And Where


From The Hood: The Campaign Strategist’s Lament

"This election is a chance to really work the record of what nine years of National-led government has done to improve the country for everyone. Or will do. Another three years, maybe six. Thirty-three years, tops. You don’t want to risk that, do you? More>>

PSA Report: National Gets An ‘F’ For Health Funding

"Seeing National’s record on health collected in one place is quite sobering - it’s clear that underfunding is having dire consequences on both patients and staff, who are having to do more than ever with less," says Glenn Barclay, PSA national secretary. More>>


Children With Disabilities: Education Crisis Unaddressed

In 2008 IHC lodged its complaint against the on-going failure of New Zealand Governments and the Ministry of Education to ensure that disabled children access a quality education on an equal basis to others in New Zealand schools. More>>

Gordon Campbell: Ten Reasons For Not Voting National

if anyone you know is thinking of voting National in Saturday’s election, there’s still time for an intervention. You owe it to your friends and relations to intercede. Because there’s plenty of evidence on National’s mediocre-to-awful track record over its nine years in power. We can’t afford another three years of drift. More>>


Suffrage Day: PSA National Secretaries Vote For Equal Pay

PSA national secretaries Erin Polaczuk and Glenn Barclay are advance voting for the 2017 election alongside their daughters, with equal pay and fairness in mind on the 124th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand. More>>


Charge Protests: Dairy Farms Use Same Amount Of Water As 60 Million People

Using Dairy NZ numbers, economist Peter Fraser and agricultural consultant Dr Alison Dewes calculate the water consumption of New Zealand dairy farms is equivalent to the residential use of 60 million people. More>>


Greenpeace: Labour, Greens Commit To Canterbury Democracy

Labour MP Megan Woods is promising to return Canterbury’s regional council, ECan, to a democratically elected council. It follows a mass day-long occupation of the ECan building by local water activists calling for the restoration of democracy and urgent action to save rivers. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog