Healthy Homes for all means a WOF and Landlord Register

The Government’s decision to exclude landlords from property management regulations means more than half of Kiwi rentals will be left out in the cold. And, where they’re kicking the can down the road on Healthy Homes Standards, the Government falls short on the basics that a Rental Warrant of Fitness would fix.

“The Government is consciously deciding to exclude 60 percent of the rental market from regulation by limiting their proposals just to property managers and excluding private landlords. We’ve heard time and again that some of the most egregious breaches of renters’ rights come from landlords who are not up to scratch on the law. A universal register is something any good actor in the sector should want,” says the Green Party’s spokesperson for renters, Chlöe Swarbrick. 

“My Written Questions from earlier this year also show the Government has no idea how many private rentals are Healthy Homes Standards compliant; it has no idea how many companies are holding themselves out as capable of certifying the Healthy Homes Standards, nor does it know how many landlords or property managers have self-certified their exclusions from meeting standards.

“This is not a recipe for a system that works - for anyone. The Greens have called for a Warrant of Fitness in place of the effectively voluntary Healthy Homes Standards since the start, but the Government now instead seems intent on restarting the clock.

“Who does that benefit? It’s not the one and a half million renters who Stats NZ data shows are most likely to be living in unfit, mouldy and overpriced houses. It’s not the one and a half million renters who in place of a WOF are left to enforce their right to Healthy Homes themselves through the Tenancy Tribunal. 

“Make no mistake, if the Government makes the choice to extend compliance backstops for the Healthy Homes Standards, it once again sides with those who hold institutional power. If the Government decides to continue to limit regulation of the rental sector to just professional property managers, it admits satisfaction with under-regulation of hundreds of thousands of homes managed by private landlords.

“The Greens, on the other hand, won’t stop fighting for a Rental WOF, property manager and landlord register and rent controls. That’s what a mature rental system looks like,” says Chlöe Swarbrick.

The Green Party’s petition for a Rental WOF currently has close to 18,000 signatures https://action.greens.org.nz/support_a_rental_warrant_of_fitness

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