Turns out are state houses are in a shocking state of disrepair. The Nation’s Nicola Kean:
Are warrants unwarranted for state houses?
In February last year, Housing Minister Nick Smith launched a trial Warrant of Fitness scheme for state houses. Inspectors would take a look at 500 Housing New Zealand properties to see, essentially, if they were fit for people to live in. …
48 percent of the houses in the trial were non-compliant and found in need of urgent repairs. That means they needed to be fixed within two days or the house might have to be vacated. Another 32 percent needed “high priority” repairs within 10 days. That’s 80 percent of the Housing New Zealand properties in the trial that need pretty serious work.
There’s more: 33 percent failed the WoF not only because was there no insulation, but also no way to heat the house. And 22 percent didn’t have functioning bathroom and toilet doors; 10 percent had significant mould.
That seems much less pedantic, although it won’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who’s been following recent developments in social housing. The poor quality of state housing is part of the reason the Government wants to sell some of them off to social housing providers. And a damp state house was last month cited by a coroner as contributing to the death of todder Emma Lita-Bourne in Auckland.
“22 percent didn’t have functioning bathroom and toilet doors” – WTF? 80 percent needed serious work – WTF? This is negligence on a massive scale. How has this been allowed to happen?
One relevant factor is the shape that housing in when the Nats took over in 2008. I haven’t found anything definitive (If anyone knows of real data on this please say so in comments), but neither of the following from 2008 suggests a crisis. From the Report from the Controller and Auditor-Generalon Housing New Zealand Corporation: Maintenance of state housing
The Auditor-General found that the HNZC’s overall systems for maintaining its State houses are comprehensive and effective, but that the systems it uses to assess the condition of its properties and measure its performance are inadequate.
Like the general housing stock, the Corporation’s own state housing stock is ageing, and has ongoing and increasing maintenance and modernisation requirements. For every dwelling, the Corporation spends about $3,000 a year on maintenance. However, a backlog of repairs remains, which the Corporation is working to reduce.
Duncan Garner talks with Peter Hannam, former Housing New Zealand Principal Advisor Quality, about the condition of state houses and what goes on behind the scenes. He says changes by the National Government means there are less tenancy managers checking the status of houses.
Interesting interview, check it out. At 05:45:
Hannam: “Under the Labour government the money was coming through and they were heading in the right direction. … [Under National] The focus had gone on to redevelopment and the provision of new housing.”
This needs a proper investigation – why were state houses allowed to get this bad? And as a footnote, do those Aussie buyers the Nats are so keen on know what they’re getting?