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Unintended consequences of rental WOF

Will a rental property WOF really help?

On the eve of the General Election, there had been further lobbying for a rental property WOF. On the face of it, this appears to make good sense, but if it was introduced unintended consequences could see tenants worse off.

Increasing rental prices to pay for regular WOF inspections may lead to more over-crowding of rental properties. Otago Medical School studies have shown that over-crowding has a major effect on tenants’ health and a WOF will not help these families.

Another Otago Medical School study shows that fuel poverty is a major factor in the poor health of many New Zealanders, including tenants. The NZ Property Investors' Federation (NZPIF) believes that Government should provide low income households with electricity vouchers over the winter months to encourage tenants to turn on their heaters.

"Some say that cars have to have a WOF so rental properties should too. But if drivers can't afford the petrol, their warranted car isn't going to take them far" says NZPIF Executive Officer, Andrew King.

"Many people have accused the NZPIF of not caring about tenants, but this could not be further from the truth" says King. "We just know that a WOF is not the answer to children living in cold damp homes."

An Otago Medical School Study has shown that Government saves around $5 for every dollar spent on heating and insulation. Obviously it makes good sense to invest Government funds into solving the problem.

There is currently no tax incentive for rental property owners to insulate or install energy efficient heating. The NZPIF is seeking support for insulation and energy efficient heating to be made a tax deductible expense. This would help reduce the need for rental price increases, thereby reducing pressure on tenants and reducing upward pressure on the accommodation supplement.


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