Key, English reject Labour's WOF-style proposal for Healthy Homes Guarantee, but government sources say minimum standards for insulation and smoke alarms being prepared

Key, English reject Labour's WOF-style proposal for Healthy Homes Guarantee, but government sources say minimum standards for insulation and smoke alarms being prepared

By Bernard Hickey

Prime Minister John Key and Finance Minister Bill English have rejected a Labour proposal for a full Warrant of Fitness style set of standards for warmth and dryness that would have to be met before a rental property could be let, but Government sources said the Government was preparing more limited minimum standards for insulation and smoke alarms.

Speaking in the wake of the death of Emma-Lita Bourne from respiratory illnesses in a cold, damp Otara state home last year, Key and English said the Labour proposal could remove thousands of homes from the rental market and could increase rents.

However, Government sources said late on Monday the Government was preparing a minimum set of standards for all landlords for insulation and smoke alarms, but would not go as far as the Labour proposal for a full WOF, which the Government has criticised as immediately making tens of thousands of houses impossible to let because they could not be fully insulated.

Earlier, Key told a post-cabinet news conference he was deeply disturbed by the death of two-year old Bourne, which Coroner Brandt Shortland attributed to a cold and damp state house. The house was insulated in the ceiling, but had wooden floors without carpets and Bourne's family could not afford to use the heater provided for them by Housing NZ.

Key said the Government was concerned about the less well off and that was why it had increased benefits in the Budget by up to NZ$25/week and moved to increase competition in the electricity market to limit price inflation.

"When it comes to the situation potentially of that family and maybe others, there are other options available, so despite the fact that benefits will eventually rise, there are emergency benefits and emergency support that can be provided for people," he said.

Asked if the Government would look at emergency grants for electricty over the winter, he said he would prefer targeted spending.

"I think going to a one-off grant which would involve a payment, potentially, to all people in say, for instance, a certain category or a certain age group would likely mis-target that spending," he said, referring to a widespread payment for pensioner heating in the UK.

"In the end they'll be paying that to some people who don't need it and probably not enough to some that do," he said.

"I think it is a better system to manage it as we do at the moment, by exception."

WOF for state and private rentals?

Key was then asked if the Government should roll out a trial WOF system for Housing NZ homes to both state and private rentals.

"The concept of a warrant of fitness is one of those things that sounds really good when you talk about it, but as soon as you start delving into it - and we have done a bit of work on it - it becomes more challenging," Key said.

Self-administration would mean a WOF would only be applied in a dispute between a tenant and a landlord, while a Government administered WOF would require a lot of resources, he said.

"You're going to have a lot of people walking around with clipboards," Keys said, adding that the specifications of a WOF could be as specific as the sizes of rooms or the number of power sockets.

"So I think we can all agree there are certain things it would be good to have in a house and the more houses that are insulated the better. Obviously smoke alarms are important things," he said.

"I just caution that, if we ultimately went to have a really rigid warrant of fitness, we would see more cost on landlords. Some of that would be warranted, but some of it would without question be passed on. And some of the advice we have seen is that not only would rents rise, but some landlords would pull out of the market. So we have just got to be careful of unintended consequences."

Earlier, English told Q+A said that Government was considering some type of standards, but not the full Healthy Homes Guarantee proposal from Labour.

"We’ve got to be careful we don’t create more problems than we solve by taking a chunk of houses out of the market when there is a real shortage in some places or driving up costs and rents for people who are already struggling to afford housing," English said.

"So we are trying to find that balance," he said.

"We are not going to adopt extreme measures, but we want to get something practical, affordable that will start lifting the standard," English said.

Announcement by end of July

Later, a spokeswoman for Housing and Building Minister Nick Smith said the Government was open minded around minimum quality standards for rental properties.

"Since the rollout of the trial on Housing NZ stock, we have been considering how best to improve the standard of the country’s housing. The Minister expects to make an announcement in this space by the end of next month," the spokeswoman said.

"We have always been clear that the benefits of any housing warrant of fitness scheme must be balanced with issues of cost and supply. Any costs of regulatory requirements like a warrant of fitness will ultimately be passed onto the tenants and we need to ensure that they are practical and cost-effective," she said.

"All of the warrant of fitness proposals made so far include a compulsory requirement for insulation - i.e. that it would be illegal to tenant them. Officials estimate there are thousands of existing homes that will not be able to be practically insulated because it is not possible to access their roof or floor cavities."

The Government is expected to release the results of its Housing NZ WOF trial when it releases the minimum standards for rental housing.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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If Landlords can't afford a bit of insulation and one or two smoke alarms after spending hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of dollars when buying a rental, then they should get out of the market.
Owning property is a business, not a hobby, and should be treated as such.

Exactly. It's a win win if irresponsible landlord get out of the market. They have to sell, fhb buys the place.

"Exactly. It's a win win if irresponsible landlord get out of the market. They have to sell, fhb buys the place."

How do you know the FHB will insulate and install smoke detectors? Where are the regulations requiring them to do so?

they will live in the house, so if they want they can install it. Nobody should make money out of dangerous goods sold/rented.

100% agree. The "pull out of the market" comment had me yelling at the at the TV last night. If landlords pull out the houses don't disappear!

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The sad state of journalism saw the interviewer fail to ask John Key the obvious question when he said "Landlords would pull out of the market". It was the perfect opportunity to ask" So. Mr. Key. What will they do? Set fire to their property as they leave?"

maybe journalists are now more careful how they come across talking to john key after what happened to john campbell. Both channels are now run by government friendly management.

They can leave them vacant. It's hardly worth bothering with tenants if the price is going to rise 16% a year and the rent is 3%. Especially when you have owned the properties for decades.

If it's such an important issue, why doesn't the tenant buy the smoke alarms and insulation? Or perhaps only rent properties that have these things and force landlords who do not have them to do so in order to be able to rent their properties.

Because its the law Dave - passed in 1947, requires homes to be "free of damp", but it has been largely forgotten. Tenancy tribunals have often sided with landlords, even when dampness was causing serious health problems to tenants.

"Because its the law Dave - passed in 1947, requires homes to be "free of damp",

Homes can only be free of damp if they are heated/ventilated to a suitable degree. All that needs to be done is to ensure tenancy agreements require the tenant to maintain a suitable environment inside the house at all times.

"Tenancy tribunals have often sided with landlords, even when dampness was causing serious health problems to tenants."

It''s the tenant who has control over the dampness.

"It''s the tenant who has control over the dampness", and the mould I guess.I trust your tenants are damp free but better still I do hope you are not a landlord (no offence)

"and the mould I guess"

Correct.

".I trust your tenants are damp free but better still I do hope you are not a landlord (no offence)"

Damp is something that is manged, simply insulating a house does not make it disappear. Heating and ventilation are critical, insulation simply reduces the energy required. Anyone who sees insulation as a solution is quite simply ignorant.

exactly just leave the windows open 24h hours all winter and there would be no mould. Actually, go live in the streets nice ventilation down queen st.

"exactly just leave the windows open 24h hours all winter and there would be no mould. Actually, go live in the streets nice ventilation down queen st."

No this is not correct. Both heating and ventilation is required. Ventilation by itself is not enough to prevent mold.

An open window is one form of ventilation, an HRV would be better provided the occupier is prepared to pay for the energy it uses.

HRV or any item that recycles air without removing moisture won't help and will make bad places worse.

I live in a rented Villa, insulated top and bottom. Landlord provides the heater (new when we moved in), I provide the Dehumidifier to keep out the damp. Currently it fulls up in about 2 days. Rent has been static for over 1 year. Good arrangement, as his property is warm and dry and not rotting, and I am not sick.
I'm probably one of the luckier ones to have a proactive landlord "managing the mould" .

insulating it makes it worse, as it makes the air absorb the moisture more readily (ie more heat in the room and people tend to de-clothe, rather than have a lower room temperature and wear warmer clothes).

Also insulation program prioritises escaping heat via draughts (in flowing cold air...which means out flowing warm air somewhere). That's why sealed cavity and monolythic cladding are a mold problem, it traps the moisture, where older properties had draughts so were colder but the warm moisture, bacteria, and mold spores tended to escape from the room/cavity.

When the room is thermally sealed and draughts aren't taking away the heat. The moisture is locked into the room. Water & light you get algae and mold, guaranteed. The better your insulation the more moisture and bacteria problem you're going to have.

This was stuff I researched 25 years ago while I was in CentralPower Commercial department. The US who was ahead of us had found the same thing as they had projects which recovered 99% of building heat and recycled it...and almost killed it's occupants from mold, bacteria and CO2.

It's why I put heat inverters/pumps in the properties I own, to trap the moisture and increase air circulation. It doesn't replace a point heat source (fire, electric or gas heater) but it does scrub moisture. that does leave CO2 and cleanliness to deal with but I can only afford so much - and since I'm a nutjob that doesn't pass the cost of doubleglazing retrofitting or heat pumps to tenants, what I can afford is quite limited.

Heat pumps do not remove moisture on a heating cycle, they only warm the air. Warmer air can hold more moisture therefore it feels drier. Mould is formed where moisture condenses on cold surfaces with poor ventilation. Windows and especially unbroken aluminium frames are the coldest surfaces in most houses. Thermally broken or UPvc double glazed windows would lead to the biggest increase in house health but no government wants to make people pay.

For the gold standard in house health, see the passivhaus standard. This costs about 10-20% more to build than standard but this cost is easily offset by building slightly smaller homes. Many European countries are mandating this for all future new builds.

Most of the build cost in a home is in the labour, not the size (materials). It takes very little to add a sheet of gib, or cut gib/timber/steel a little longer. And concrete/block prices aren't that much more significant either.

You see, I was assured by the product specialist that the inverter pumps I got _do_ remove moisture. In all cycles. I specifically ask for that, seeing I was specifically seeking moisture removal options, as $4000 - $7000 gets a lot of kWh on a $50 buck standing heater. they said they most certainly do.

This is exactly the kind of thing that bugs me.

As a property owner/landlord I seek out this specific information, and get told "yes yes". And I spend that money, and oh ho ho, perhaps they lied after all. No, I'm not spending another $5k replacing it, get your bloody socialist government to crack down on the bullshitters instead. Even if I spent the $5k...you bet your little booties we'll get the same thing.

I'm finding the missing joinery on my current abode the coldest place, since I still have to do the gib stopping and joinery. :) Apart from that it's ill fitting windows, bottoms of doors, toilets and bathrooms (often vented). At the moment it looks like my indoor laundry, which has a concrete floor has either a cracked pipe or the guy who build it hasn't put down any damp proofing, as the concrete slab is dark grey (ie wet).
This wouldn't surprise me, as the previous generation with it's low compliance and costs were allowed to do such things, and benefit from them. Perhaps we should hold them accountable for their workmanship, after all they were the ones benefiting from the savings - it's the current generations of owners that are having to sort the problems they've passed down....

I also find underfloor insulation gives a very significant appearance in comfort. By reducing the speed of heat loss out of the floor, it feels warmer and feet are one of the major heat sensory areas in the human body.

Many tenants don't air their tenancies properly. they shut them up, transpire like mad, cook, shower, even air clothes or use gas heaters and then claim about the dampness.

Admittedly many homes in NZ were designed pre-80's. the 80's is when the government changed the playing field so much that both partners had to to work to survive and afford children. Before then it was presumed that the wife in the house would be home to clean, cook, and air out the house, and to maintain the fire.
Our failing economy can no longer afford to pay all husbands enough to independently support their wives contribution in that manner. So we get damp poorly maintained houses instead. You move 40% of the population off that maintenance task what do you think is going to happen ? Did everyone else think that those women weren't doing anything useful or that they serviced no need ?? what really bothers me is with all that extra productivity, WHY is it that the unaffordability and inequality problem has _accelerated_ not reduced ?

I have had tenants sabotage extractor fans in shower rooms - for no apparent reason. Apparently this is my fault.

They create a draught while showering. Mine got filed with insulation foam, apparently it's my fault the room and hallways are damp and the bathroom has a mold problem....

Landlords pulling out of the market would be the ones who intended to rent but due to unforeseen regulatory changes had no choice but to leave the property empty until it goes up in value so that they can sell for capital gains.

Unless that's a sarcastic comment :) I'd be interested to know how many landlords could afford to leave their properties empty for too long. (NB: The place down the road; a nice place too, is empty - between tenants, I guess - and last night, unattended as it was, it was broken into and stripped! Leaving a property empty has all sorts of consequences beyond just lack of income)

same as the one down our street brought six months nobody living in it and starting to become run down because nobody is maintaining it. It surprised me how quick that could happen

I know of one 4 brm near me untenanted for many (?10)years, but maintained, that the offshore landlord would have made a fortune on without any need for pesky tenants

"I know of one 4 brm near me untenanted for many (?10)years, but maintained, that the offshore landlord would have made a fortune on without any need for pesky tenants"

How have they made a fortune? No tenants for a 4 bed house in Auckland over ten years would be in the order of $250k lost income. Do you really think the 'pesky' tenants are not worth 1/4 mil? Do you really think the capital gain is so much that 1/4mil is optional extra?

It might be part of a Trust with other properties and the properties services provided.

the old Perpetual Trust used to be classic for doing that. the beneficiary would be someones old widow, the Trust would spend all the money maintaining the Trust assets, and if they weren't bing used that wasn't the Trusts problem.

And that's just the rent sacrificed! "Maintained' for 10 years? That's got to be $50per week if it's got a garden or a letter box to be emptied ( to make it look like some-one's home!). Plus rates, plus insurance. Then there's the financing cost. Whatever it cost to buy at whatever % rate is used, and rates weren't always at 0%! Recall that 6 years ago, floating here was 11%, and not that much different in many other places, and even if it was from savings-sacrifice, there's still a cost.

Tenants can cause a lot of wear and tear on a house, tenancy may not be continuous.You have to pay tax on rent.
This place was probably bought with cash offshore @ 50c/US dollar for $500000, now worth 1100000@ 70c/us dollar. No capital gains tax.In Eastern suburb.
The owners just have the lawns mowed occasionally. There is a car with vegetation growing out of it on flat tires in the driveway.naturally I've not seen inside the house.
Point is , in Auckland, the tax breaks and capital gain are why people are landlords, the capital gain outweighs the net rent .

"This place was probably bought with cash offshore @ 50c/US dollar for $500000, now worth 1100000@ 70c/us dollar. "

10 years ago the NZ/US xe was 0.65 to the dollar. How would that 'investment' have looked in 2009 when it was under 0.50 to the dollar?

"No capital gains tax.In Eastern suburb."

If it's bought by an offshore buyer they will pay capital gains tax based on their home tax jurisdiction.

"The owners just have the lawns mowed occasionally. There is a car with vegetation growing out of it on flat tires in the driveway.naturally I've not seen inside the house."

The inside will be in very poor condition if untouched for a decade. Houses need more maintenance when vacant than when occupied.

Just had the thought, if you don't rent it you won't need IRD number, making money laundering more viable
I do appreciate most landlords may need to maximise their returns, especially if they have mortgages. But not all.

True but I'm hoping that the IRD# for rent (which should be happening anyway way through the IR3R forms) should be a first step.
It's a short jump from matching those addresses against all the address in NZ, then checking for mortgages, then large security assets register, and then rates matching against the IRD#. Then check by voter registration for owner-occupiers for people without IRD# in unassigned properties. That should leave a short list of "queries". those queries can then be visited to ascertain why they don't match the above criteria and to identify problems.

probably not insured ... or perhaps it is and they're just hoping...

If its empty it might be in an ownership dispute. that happens especially in previous decades where people needed to hide money and assets from government and partners. When the person got sick (dementia etc) or died, often the owner was no longer contactable - hopefully the governments new rules will identify a few of these places and get them back into the system.
Or it might have work needed to do and the owner does not have the ready funds to commit to it. Don't want to lose on the sale, but can't afford to upgrade at the moment for a new tenant. Better to just pay down that mortgage themselves and concentrate on their main income/career. fix it when they can afford it. Sales commission is quite a heavy loss.
You could try looking up the owner in the local rates database, make contact and see if they want to sell. A private sale won't lose them the commission, and the relief from the hassle of ownership might persuade them to sell it to you at good rate. Just make sure it's not in a separation battle or some other legal tie-up first.

Yes great concept for an investment. Empty housing!,capital gain outstripping any need for income. The country can build thousands of new homes with no intention of having anyone live in them ( heck why even hook up the sewerage) and then we can sell them to foreigners as a spec investment.

It worked for China. Keep thousands of businesses in the money.

yes but china is starting to unravel, its looking like another ireland

This is how it works in London.

It is too less extent about affordability but more about profitability to do so.

Insulation is all very nice, but not easy to retrofit subfloor or in walls.

Requiring any more than ceiling I insulation would be nonsense.

Pumped in foam in walls is generally useless as it shrinks and leaves massive gaps. Wall insulation without an air gap to the cladding can lead to condensation and mould.

The main way to avoid cold houses is to heat them. Poor tenants have damp houses because they don't ventilate them (too lazy to open windows).

Insulation in the ceiling (and subfloor if their is a large basement), plus heating and dehumidifying will make most homes comfortable. If silly rules such as insulating walls or all subfloors or double glazing are introduced their will be little benefit.

(Most of the difference between a house being comfortable or not is due to its layout and sun catching ability rather than whether walls are insulated).

No-one is at home at most houses most day these days. One of the best things landlords could do, wherever possible, is to fit a shower dome over showers. They are phenomenal for cutting down condensation. They are not expensive and can be fitted by anyone who knows their way around a few tools

Double post

Insulation is all very nice, but not easy to retrofit subfloor or in walls.

Requiring any more than ceiling I insulation would be nonsense.

Pumped in foam in walls is generally useless as it shrinks and leaves massive gaps. Wall insulation without an air gap to the cladding can lead to condensation and mould.

The main way to avoid cold houses is to heat them. Poor tenants have damp houses because they don't ventilate them (too lazy to open windows).

Insulation in the ceiling (and subfloor if their is a large basement), plus heating and dehumidifying will make most homes comfortable. If silly rules such as insulating walls or all subfloors or double glazing are introduced their will be little benefit.

(Most of the difference between a house being comfortable or not is due to its layout and sun catching ability rather than whether walls are insulated).

Was wondering - how do you tell if a rental is fully insulated? - particularly in the walls - and to what extent - is the landlord going to allow you to drill into the walls to have look?, clamber up into the roof, and under the floor - during your initial inspection?

Most walls are not practical to insulate. I photograph mine, and new builds get inspections done. Considering this is a business and the customer is paying for current level of service, do they really want to cover the cost of business, for me to pay (myself) and the the contractor to strip all external walls, insulate, re-gib, re-stop, re-joinery, re-finish all those walls. Let's say $20,000 plus interest recovery, over 8 years, Extra $65 a week, on your rent? (Based on very average 3 bedroom mid sized dwelling and cheap quality tradesmen, not inncluding disposal of waste materials)

$65 per week extra, in Palmerston North, a average sized average location 3bd, 1bt, 1g will rent out for about $300 - $350 (about $45-50 in rates a week). You think the tenants really want to be paying that extra 20% increase in rent?

Insulation - I'm not sure why a landlord wouldn't have their property insulated, keeps tenants happy, house dryer etc.
Smoke alarms - have them in all my rentals and its cheap and easy. The hard part is stopping tenants from taking the things down! They even get a free spare batteries but never use them.
The real problem when all of this is done is heating and its cost - have heat pumps in houses that have never been used because of cost complaints. Not sure how you can make it any cheaper though.

if your heat pumps are expensive to run get the gas levels checked, and that the tenants know how to operate them. If the gas is low the efficiency drops off rapidly.

One set of tenants could never work out how to use theirs. It used to come on at midnight (the default clock setting) and run the place to 25 degrees and shut off several hours later. They never mentioned it.
I only found out when working on the boundary fence with a neighbour and he mentioned that they used wonder why it always ran in the mild of the night and never during the day.
Instead the tenants just pulled the fuse (and after I put circuit breakers in, just turned off the breaker.) $15,000 of ducted 12kW heat pump doing -nothing-, while they bitched to other people about the damp.

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Appears to me we have too many landlords who cannot afford to be landlords. If they had to exit the market it would be better all round because they are just running down the quality, while inflating the price, of already poor housing stock.

there are a lot of landlords that came into the market because that is the only way they can see to set themselves up. mom and pops type. they don't want to be landlords but what else are they going to do when previous government incentivised the owning of rental property so they would not have to provide it.
If they had structured similar to the way HC lease homes, but as property syndicate where for 50K you could buy into a block of 20 homes returning 6%. HC could have raised money to build them, people could invest without leveraging. they only then would have to create a product similar to FSF so people could sell out when needed.

And it appears we have far too many dairy farmers who can't actually afford to supply fonterra.

Sadly, unlike yourself, many of us don't have huge money trees in the backyard throwing money at us. so we do the best we can.

Many of those landlords _can_ afford to be _landlords_.
What they can't afford is the greed and stupidity of central government, constant rises in expectation without willingness to met the price tag involved of the public (like constant above inflation rates rises and insurance costs) it all needs to be passed on. Again that's fine if you work in government or council or banks or supermarkets and can just extract by threat or cartel from your customers.

If you actually do some research you'll find many of those that "can't afford it" have tried to provide better quality services and been punished for it.

the ones who "can afford it" ... like the dairy farmers ... are the privilieged, or queen st high salary people who already don't need the return, or those like the BB who have been in for a long time when properties cost a fraction to build, buy, or maintain and reaped the benefit of decades of benefits (like when you did get depreciation or housing bonuses on tax and banking).

But no, feel free to outline your Recipe of inequality and privilege.

(because if those el cheapo landlords arent adding to the suppply of landlords just who do you think will have the money to leverage to get them. it won't be home buyers.)

If the GOVT release a set of minimum standard on rental properties, it should also need to look at its Rental laws, and make sure it is less favourable to tenants.

Why?

because at the moment, a tenant can damage a property and walk away, or wreck a heat pump then 3 months later claim it was like that and they want recompensation for being forced to life in a unhygenic house. They landlord can be forced to refund their income, and pay for further repairs from their own pocket, and then the tenant can just leave owing a lot on electricty, phone and fouling (as well as smashing the back door (it looked like a banana) and there's no way to recover the cost of the damages.

Problem with such things is that can the tenants afford the upgrades?

And house is damp/mould free

I rent a cold house, it has an HRV, Heat Pump, Woodburner and it is insulated (although insulation is looking a bit sad on it) and it still gets mould and always feels cold in winter. It's no real difference to any house I have lived in and I am constantly cleaning it up (in winter) especially round windows, etc. to remove the mould buildup. There is a lot said about mould these days but does anyone just clean it up anymore themselves, is it safe to do this (I've been doing it for many years) Just wondering...?

How often is the heat pump serviced? they need filters done preferrably every 6 months and the gas checked annual (or at least every two years).

Does the bathroom have a ceiling mounted fan and does it run for minimum 5 minutes after the the shower is used? Likewise with clotherswasher if in the house.

What is it's aspect. Many Wellington houses are build into bad areas into hillsides, and often have inadequate dampness prevention - concrete transports and exudes moisture (so concrete houses need thermal storage, good aspect, and more air movement). Older style concrete houses tend not to have thermal insulation (usually polystrene) in the ground area or the water prevention plastic is either not installed or has holes in it. (very common in US basements which get as bad as actual flooding from the moisture through the concrete).

Is the mould in certain areas? side of house, windows, cupboards?

In winter look at getting a stand alone dehumidifier, run in the dampest south room. The money you'll save in not having to heat all that airbourne water will cover the cost of the running the dehumidifier. The areas serviced by the dehumidifier must be shut off from outside while it's running.

Make sure you're airing your bedding and changing it frequently. It absorbs peoples' body mositure at night, and tends to retain it. airing the bed and blankets gives it a change to evaporate.

Try to de-clutter the house. without air moving around, everything traps moisture. cltohes and paper are the worst.

Also check that all the vents to the underspace on the house are free for air to blow through them.
If there is a lot of moisture under the house consider putting so black polythene sheeting under the house to stop the moisture rising up in the house.

run your HRV with the windows open if the day is warm, the heating won't cost a fortune, and it will air out the moist air better.

if you or the landlord have to repaint, there is mould preventer available in a separate wee bottle. put several drops in with the paint to slow the mould from taking root. Don't put hands on areas after sealing, before painting, and paint promptly to reduce the spores getting into the moisture trapped into the junction better wall and paint. You can't clean it off once it's in the wall/paint. Only try to keep killing it. Need to dry it out so that it has no moisture to grow on.

Weka, get a dehumidifier.

Our newish house had real condensation problems after a few years even with double glazing on the south facing windows and full insulation.

Once we had a dehumidifier going removing all the moisture down to a reasonable level, the cost of heating went down enormously.

Now the house is kept at a constant 20-24 degrees by a single heat pump 8kW heat pump and it costs a bit over $2500 a year for all electricity including hot water for a 2500 square foot house and that is in the South Island.

Unless it is minus 5 or less outside we don't get any condensation at all.

I also fitted smoke alarms myself, if a landlord doesn't care about my family I sure as hell do...

Some landlords need to get their heads around how commercial capital and Opex needs to work to be a long term landlord.

If you have to bring a house up to a new WOF standard, you cannot add that cost in the form of extra rent.

The imbalance we have in the present system is that an unwarranted house or a house that does not meet the minimum standards of the building code is just as valuable as one that does. This is due to lack of supply/increased demand which in turns encourages speculation based on capital gains, leading to accidental landlords and/or houses being left vacant.

We have a WOF of cars to make sure they are safe, and so we should for housing.

You don’t expect an unwarranted car to be worth the same as a warranted car, and neither should you with housing.

If you sell an unwarranted car, its price is generally the warranted price less the cost to bring it up to a warrantable standard.

So present landlords need to suck up the cost of bringing a house up to standard, or sell it at less the cost of what is required for the new owner to bring it to warrantable standard.

Rather than wanting another carrot from the Govt. to continue being in an accidental landlord, they need a bit of WOF stick to either bring it up to the required standard or sell at a discount so more professional and ethical landlords can get involved.

sorry Dale it's a business.

The customer must pay to get the services they want. Where do you think the magic money is going to come from if not? Only government is allowed to forcefully extract money from third parties to fund the socialist dream.

and the WOF on a car doesn't actually affect it's price. (because you look at it, decide what you're willing to pay for that item, and you meet the cost, or you don't). Paying for certification is a foolish socialist concept - like the Higher Salaries commission, paying more for theoretical things while ignore their productivity (real) value.

What happens if you fail your WOF for your car ...its not legal to run it on the road. Fail your WOF on rental...tough you cant rent it, so either sell, get the repairs done, or move into your damp and mouldy investment.
Its a business ..

Actually if you fail you WOF, you aren't even allowed to park the car in a public place.

Lots of my young friends used to drive without WOF, or just drive "dumpers" that would never pass. Since they couldn't afford the car AND the WOF they went with the bit that serviced their actual needs

Ah , the old "sorry but it's just business' line.

That line has been used to justify up to the very worst humanity has to offer, and just because people need a roof over there heads, and therefore the 'elasticity' of what a landlord can get away with is very high, does not mean they should.

Of course the condition (of which a WOF and other things are) of a car effects its price.

Certification and socialism - that's a big leap to make when we are talking about improving the quality of NZ housing which we know is poor by world standards. The North Americans have a better standard yet they won't call themselves socialist to achieve it.

And your solution is?

the solution is easy - YOU put YOUR money where your mouth is.

I have.

Can I get that in writing that if the WOF for houses is passed you'll cover _everyones_ shortfall that it costs.

After all it's the forcing those who can't afford it that's the issue, no-one has ever stopped you from upgrading your own if you wanted.

The cowboy way of dealing with the basic insulation and mould problem is such:
Set up a simple system like student loans.
Start in a bad area, eg grab the WINZ residental address book.

While (address haven't been visited) do:
Visit the address.
Rank it on a priority of 1 to 10.
switch
case 10: place is tidy, serviceable, requires insulation. jump to end of list.
case 9: place is tidy, may require additional work to insulate. jump to end of list
case 8: place is untidy but insulation can be done without wasting your time. jump to end of list
case 7: place is damp, but serviceable, requires insulation. jump to end of list.
case 1: place is damp, unserviceable, insulation would be damaged by other factors.
end of list
if case 10: call owner. ask when insulation will be installed. if time given > 6 months. put name of "loans list", book work to be done, place lien on property.
if case 9: call owner. ask when additional work can be scheduled. if time given < 6 months. put name on "loan list". book work for upgrade to be done, book work for re-inspection, from beginning.
if case 1: call owner notify them that the place is not legal for renting to tenants. Get council to issue notice. Offer to to book work and place lien, place name on list for possible forced sale.
Setup a repayment schedule that will work, ideally with deduction from the gross rental.

Once done with the WINZ list, repeat with HNZ list. then with rates databases locally.

Major points:
Keep the overheads low as humanly possible.
Make the loans as interest low as possible, ie _government_ low, not retail low. Also it is a loan there is little financial advantage so it escapes some of the moral risk of landlords deliberately waiting for government to pay for their improvements.
Do not give a choice - because it is low cost, and loans are lowest ever rate, there is no reason or excuse for refusal - remember the cost doesn't hit *now* so no owner will be adversely affected, nor does the tenant get hit with a large improvements pass-on.
Where payment terms exceed 3, 5 or 10 years reassess for additional interest and possible forced sale. This means the landlord must either be deliberately low paying the improvements or over leveraged.
The whole thing is funded by the owners so it's not like much more than a nominal amount to launch and oversee it is required from public funds. By keeping costs low, it doesn't even disadvantage owners or tenants.

If you're *really* interested in social improvement this is the best implementation. If you're really interested in padding bills and paying consultants to write useless reports,or hold committee after committee and debate after worthless debate, for nothing then go with current government practices.