A Warrant of Fitness for New Zealand Homes

12 -1:30 Thursday 3 October 2013

Dunedin Community House, 301 Moray Place, Dunedin 9106

Bring your Lunch, Tea & Coffee provided

The key points…

There’s been considerable discussion about a Warrant of Fitness (WoF) for New Zealand homes. Driving the movement is concern about the impact that low quality rental housing has on the health and wellbeing of children and the elderly.

Poorly insulated homes are expensive to heat; other issues include poor maintenance and rentals that do not meet basic sanitation and safety requirements.

The Expert Advisory Committee on Solutions to Child Poverty identified the establishment of a WoF for all rental housing as a priority for immediate attention in their document Solutions to Child Poverty in New Zealand: Evidence for Action Priorities and Recommendations.

The Social Housing Reform (Housing Restructuring and Tenancy Matters Amendment) Bill is before the Social Services Committee with a report due on 1 October 2013. The Bill makes provision for a rental Housing Warrant of Fitness scheme, initially for social housing providers who meet certain criteria. Adherence would make the providers eligible for an income-related rent subsidy.

The Housing and Health Research Programme at the University of Otago (Wellington) and the  New Zealand Green Building Council are establishing a test for a minimum standard for rental accommodation focussing on a pass or fail on health and safety standards.

Locally the Dunedin City Council with the support of OUSA is proposing a Local Bill for Parliament that would give Council the power to enforce a Warrant of Fitness on rentals in the city.

Some starter Questions…

  • Do you support a rental housing WoF?  If yes, why?  If not, why not?
  • Can you foresee any problems?
  • What are key criteria for healthy homes?

Some background reading…

The Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty: Priority 2 – Housing WOF [PDF]

The legislation

Social Housing Reform (Housing Restructuring and Tenancy Matters Amendment) Bill

Social Housing Reform (Housing Restructuring and Tenancy Matters Amendment) Bill

Nick Smith, “Housing WoF to be Developed and Trialled”

Press

Stuff: Rental Home Warrant of Fitness Coming

Thomas Mead, “Dunedin City Council Eyes Rental WoF” 3 News, 18 July 2013

Websites

New Zealand Green Building Council 

Dunedin City Council: Better Homes

Wider context

The Public Health Association of New Zealand 2 page summary outlining the impact of housing on health [PDF] including an extensive list of references.

Human Rights Commission New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights;  Chapter 13: The right to an adequate standard of living: focus on housing Te tika ki te whai nohoanga oranga: tirohanga ki te tika whai whare.

The UK Context: Together at Home: A New Strategy for Housing

You can download this information as a PDF: WoF Housing Discussion document.