Press Release – Citizens Advice Bureau
Citizens Advice Bureau says the Government should urgently implement a Housing Warrant of Fitness for all rental housing. Every year we see clients who are living in cold, damp or mouldy houses and whose health is suffering because of it. It’s important …
For immediate release
CAB supports Housing Warrant of Fitness
Citizens Advice Bureau says the Government should urgently implement a Housing Warrant of Fitness for all rental housing. “Every year we see clients who are living in cold, damp or mouldy houses and whose health is suffering because of it. It’s important for people’s health that their house is warm and dry especially if they have a baby or small children”, says Dr Andrew Hubbard, CAB National Research and Policy Advisor.
“Unfortunately when people come to the CAB to find out what they can do to address their rental house being in poor condition, there is little that we can help them with, because New Zealand’s housing standards are so inadequate.
“We need to urgently implement minimum standards for heating, insulation and weather tightness to ensure a decent standard of housing for all New Zealanders”, says Dr Hubbard.
The CAB says the problem is getting more urgent as rental housing is becoming a larger part of the market. The percentage of housing rented from private landlords has more than doubled in the last 20 years.
“We are increasingly seeing the impact of poor housing on the health and welfare of the communities we are working in”. Around 70% of children living in poverty live in rental houses, many of which aren’t adequately heated and insulated.
CABs around the country are banding together this week to raise awareness of tenancy issues. Nationally the CAB deals with over 11,000 tenancy enquiries every year, and problems with the quality of housing are becoming increasingly prominent.
Citizens Advice Bureaux is an independent community organisation offering a free, confidential and independent service of information, assistance and referral from 90 locations stretching from Northland to Invercargill. Last year volunteers received over 508,000 enquiries on issues ranging from electricity, immigration, housing and employment to consumer rights, health and family.
A total of 800,000 homes, mostly rentals, have insucient insulation and few landlords have made use of the Warm Up New Zealand subsidy for insulation (of the 230,000 houses insulated with a Warm Up New Zealand subsidy, just 25,000 have been rentals).
A recent study by BRANZ found the amount of houses in good condition fell by 9% between 2005 and 2010. The research also found that rented homes are in a poorer condition than owner-occupied homes. Currently there are few legal standards for the condition of rental houses in New Zealand.