Monday, February 25, 2019

Making rental homes safe

Cold houses kill. 30,000 children are hospitalised every year from preventable, housing-related diseases. Ten die. National did nothing about this while in government, content to let children die from entirely preventable diseases to avoid inconveniencing the greedy landleeches who rented them unsafe homes. Now, Labour is fixing it:

The government has announced a raft of new rules for rental properties, with a strong focus on heating and insulation.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford said nearly 600,000 households in New Zealand rent, and rental stock is of poorer quality than owner-occupied homes.


Under the new rules, rental properties will be required to have ceiling and underfloor insulation that meets the Building Code standard or has a minimum thickness of 120 millimetres.

Heaters that can heat a living-room to 18 degrees Celsius will also be required, plus rangehoods or extraction fans in kitchens and bathrooms.

All rentals will have to meet the standard by 1 July 2024, or face penalties.

Good. For virtually every other product, the goods you buy or rent are required to be of "acceptable quality": fit for purpose, free from defects, durable and above all, safe. Its long past time that standard was applied to houses. We should not let greedy landlords murder ten children a year because they're too cheap or lazy to provide a safe product.

(Meanwhile, the landleeches are repeating their usual mantras of "rents will rise" and "landlords will quit". On the first, rents rise anyway, and at least now tenants will be getting something for that increase beyond the joy of imagining their landlord's new boat or holiday home. On the latter, the more landlords who sell out and stop hoarding houses, the better. The houses won't go away, and they'll either be bought by better landlords, or by people who actually want to live in them. And either way, removing a shit landlord from the market makes us all better off).