From the Green Party website
The Green Party is launching a petition today calling on the Government’s Healthy Homes Standards to be backed up with a proper Warrant of Fitness (WoF) for rental homes.
“Warm, dry, and healthy homes are a human right, but too often people who rent have little choice but to accept a home without the basic necessities that would make them safe and healthy,” says Green Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick.
“Rented homes are more likely than owner-occupied homes to be in poor condition and often do not receive the maintenance they need to be functional, safe, and healthy. This puts people who rent at risk of living in unhealthy homes.
“The Government’s Healthy Homes Standards are an important step but they’re not very enforceable. If there’s a problem, people who rent have to actively complain to the Tenancy Tribunal, but the power imbalance between renters and landlords means many renters are nervous about doing that.
“We don’t wait for rental cars to crash before we safety-test them; we require rental car companies to get regular WoF safety checks. People who rent their home shouldn’t have to get sick or complain before the safety of their home is tested and guaranteed.
“A WoF for rental homes would cover Healthy Homes Standards for heating, insulation, and ventilation as well as other basic features all homes should have, like safe electrical wiring, smoke alarms, and secure locks on doors and windows. Too often homes are rented out – at extreme cost – without these basic necessities.”
Detail from the Green Party Homes For All policy (2020):
Improving and enforcing Healthy Homes Standards Homes should support wellbeing. But 44% of children growing up in rental accommodation are living in damp houses, and 36% are living in houses with a significant level of mould.5Rental homes are typically in poorer condition than owner–occupied homes, and due to being more likely to rent, poor quality housing disproportionately effects Māori, Pasēfika, and new migrant communities.6
The Healthy Homes Standards, introduced by the current Government are a big step forward for renters, and when these are fully implemented they will improve the quality of rental housing.
However, two additional changes are needed to ensure these standards deliver warm homes for all renters. In the next term of government, the Green Party will:
A minimum temperature of at least 18 ̊C in all indoor living spaces is what’s needed for a healthy home, according to the World Health Organisation. The Healthy Homes Standards currently require the main living area of a rental property to be able to be heated to at least 18 ̊C from a fixed heating source.
In the next term of Government, the Green Party will extend this requirement to bedrooms. This will have a particular benefit for children, the elderly, and those with underlying health conditions.
Warmer bedrooms will help reduce Aotearoa’s shameful level of hospital admission for child respiratory conditions over the winter months. This will also reduce reliance on inefficient portable heaters, which will have benefits for both energy efficiency and home safety. This new aspect of the Healthy Homes Standards will come into effect for new rental agreements from 1 September 2021, to allow time for property upgrades to occur. The final date for full compliance of existing rentals with the Healthy Home Standards will remain 1 July 2024.
The Green Party will add the enforcement mechanism of a Rental Warrant of Fitness, requiring all rental properties to be independently assessed for compliance with the Healthy Homes Standards. This will be introduced in phases, matching the implementation of the Standards themselves –applying first to new rental agreements, and then expanding to all rental properties. With the combination of improved Healthy Homes Standards and the Rental Warrant of Fitness, people who rent will have confidence that their homes will keep them warm and healthy.