It is our view that the majority of New Zealand housing stock performs poorly regarding staying warm and dry. This is especially the case regarding a significant proportion of our rental properties.
CEN strongly supports the intent of the Healthy Homes Guanrantee Act. We understand that the standards that underpin the HHGA will be developed between now and the end of the year. We strongly support all stakeholders to engage in the consultation for these standards. From our point of view, the key issues include:
- Ensuring rental properties that have vulnerable (measured through health and economic hardship indicators) tenants are assessed to a high standard – this should include a statement of compliance and education relating to behavioural requirements of the tenants.
- Ensuring that the performance standards will lead to all tenants being able to achieve a warm dry house. This should include a standardised measurement protocol that provides an estimate of the energy costs a tenant must pay to keep the house at a healthy temperature.
- Any house that cannot be maintained at a healthy temperature and humidity level without exceeding a set affordability benchmark should not be able to be rented. Any other approach will lead to many cold, damp houses still being rented. Tenants will again be faced with the choice of paying high energy costs or under heating their homes. This outcome is a very clear marker of the failure of the standards.
- A well designed and implemented roll out of the standards is the best mechanism to ensure the disruption to the market is managed. The standards implicated above will be difficult for many landlords to achieve quickly. there needs to be a well designed roll that could include staggered compliance dates for varying locations, health profiles, deprivation indicators or other indicators used.