Less than half of rentals likely meeting health standards
Less than half of New Zealand residential rentals are likely compliant with Healthy Homes Standards which came into effect on 1 July, a company involved in the healthy homes sector believes.
Brandon Van Blerk, the CEO of healthy homes, work and learning spaces Kiwi start-up technology company Tether – which provides low cost indoor environmental sensors and software – said that the prevailing attitude of landlords who have not complied is: "What is the minimum we have to do to comply? What are the fines? Will the tribunal be lenient about a grace period?'
"The thing is, that kind of attitude will come back to bite landlords in the butt because insulation and installation costs are going to double in the next few months. Coupled to that are the penalties you might face for non-compliance. To delay is terrible economics.
"Unfortunately, an attitude that is more about ticking boxes, staying out of trouble and avoiding consequences doesn't necessarily contribute to the health and wellbeing of the tenants."
Van Blerk said another emerging issue is that the healthy home standards will give birth to another 'meth testing' fiasco with dozens of start-up 'businesses' purporting to support tenants and landlords achieve a healthy home.
"The meth testing companies can stop worrying because the Government has thrown them a lifeline with this new business opportunity."
Van Blerk said that even complying with all of the Government's requirements, such as insulation, doesn't necessarily make a healthy or comfortable home for tenants.
"To use the analogy of baking a cake. Having ingredients like flour, milk and butter doesn't make a cake. Having insulation and heat pumps don't necessarily make a healthy home."
Van Blerk said that the most problem residential properties are likely to be found down south where the houses are old, hard to repair and where conditions are particularly damp and cold.
"Achieving the 18-degree Celsius standard in the living room will be difficult and costly. That's a problem because rents aren't huge in these areas, so many landlords aren't wallowing in cash to be able to make these changes.
"This also raises the question of how to prove your living room is capable of being heated to the 18 degrees Celsius standard? Without employing accurate technology, it becomes a case of the landlord's word against the tenant, and probably in most instances, the landlord will be held liable."
1. Delay, and you'll pay double
Van Blerk said landlords should not delay meeting Government standards for healthy homes because prices on items like insulation and heating will rise due to stock pressure and the costs of installation services will increase due to demand pressure.
"These things may not make your house healthier for tenants because the living space is a complex environment, but you are required by law to get them done. Do it before suppliers can take advantage of you due to demand. It's basic economics and landlords who delay will be on the receiving end."
2. Know your rights
"If you are a landlord, don't leave yourself in the hands of your suppliers, tenants and the Tenancy Tribunal. Educate yourself on what you are required to do, and by when. Study up on the penalties and know your rights."
3. Treat your tenant as a customer
Van Blerk said that landlords should not adopt an 'arm's length' relationship with tenants because that is counter-productive.
"Get to know your tenants and develop a business relationship with them. Treat them as your customer and act with professionalism. They will be more likely to want to work with you to resolve differences and may even be prepared to cut you some slack if you show that you have their best interests at heart."
For more information visit: https://www.tetherme.io/
LINK TO https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/standards-make-homes-warm-and-dry-released