Rental property WOFs

PHOTO: Rental property WOFs

Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick says the party’s call to introduce a warrant of fitness (WOF) for rental properties would benefit landlords as well as tenants, arguing the proposal would protect “good landlords” from Tenancy Tribunal strife.

The party is petitioning the Government to introduce WOFs for rentals to ensure properties are meeting the Healthy Homes Standards. With New Zealand’s homeownership rate at its lowest in almost 70 years, the Greens are arguing that tenancy is no longer a transient option for homeowner hopefuls – and is becoming increasingly long-term. With rented homes less likely to have double-glazing and more likely to be older, colder, damper and mouldier than owned homes, the Greens say it’s imperative that landlords are guaranteeing renters a safe and healthy home for the duration of their tenancy.

The Healthy Homes Standards, which became law on July 1, 2019, outline the minimum standards for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture ingress and drainage, and draught-stopping in rented properties.

Last month, the Government announced that all private rentals must comply with the Healthy Homes Standards within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy after July 1, with all private rentals complying by July 1, 2024.

The Greens’ petition, ‘Let’s level the playing field for people who rent’, argues that the onus is currently on the tenant to hold their landlord to account if the property does not meet the standards, which can lead to a “stressful and expensive fight” through the Tenancy Tribunal – and a damaged relationship with the landlord.