Healthy Homes

Conor Hill wants to assist Wellingtonians who rent to live in healthy homes. He says lets help do this by making Wellington City Council's Rental Warrant of Fitness freely available to people who rent, and by providing advocacy services so that people have the legal support they need when renting an unhealthy home.

Rental WOF available to tenants

Conor Hill wants to see the rental Warrant of Fitness available free of charge to people who rent. If someone is renting a cold, mouldy, or draughty home, they should be able to request a free inspection to see whether or not the home meets the government mandated healthy homes standard which outline minimum standard for warm dry homes. The process would be much the same as the current landlord's rental WoF, it's just that it would happen on a renters invitation. If homes do not meet the Healthy Homes standard introduced by government in July this year, then renters would have a very strong case in the tenancy tribunal, to win up to $4,000 from their landlords.

Subsidised advocacy services available to tenants

Currently if a home does not meet central governments healthy homes standards then a tenant can take the landlord to the tenancy tribunal for up to $4,000. It's here that the second part of Hill's plan kicks in. Conor Hill wants to see tenant advocacy services funded by the council. People need support when the homes they are living in are unhealthy. Conor Hill wants to see the council fund tenant advocacy services, so that people who rent have the support they need when applying to the tenancy tribunal. If homes are found to not meet the healthy homes standard then

Funding

The current rental WoF costs $250. Initially council could fund up to one thousand rental WoF inspections a year for people who rent. This would cost a maximum of $250,000 per annum.

Initially the advocacy service could be funded for 2 - 3 staff members at a cost of around $250,000 a year. This would also cover marketing for the two related services

Climate Change

Unhealthy, drafty, uninsulated homes contribute to climate change, because people have to use excessive amounts of heating to keep their homes warm. Indeed Te Atakura has buildings as one of the main contributors to climate change in Wellington. Creating enforcement around landlord provision of minimum warm dry homes standards is a simple first step.

Notes

  • Healthy homes standards can be found here.

  • In the 2017 year, only 2,408 of the 18,530 applications to the tenancy tribunal were from tenants. The rest were from landlords. This was reported here

  • Rental WOF information can be found here

Conor Hill