Nick Smith announces all rental properties that can be insulated have to be insulated by July 2019; smoke alarms compulsory from July 2016; Govt decides against WOF; will beef up enforcement instead

Nick Smith announces all rental properties that can be insulated have to be insulated by July 2019; smoke alarms compulsory from July 2016; Govt decides against WOF; will beef up enforcement instead

By Bernard Hickey

Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith has announced the Government has decided against imposing an annual Warrant of Fitness inspection for rental properties that would have cost $100 million a year or $225 per property.

Instead, the Government will change tenancy laws to make sure rental properties that can be insulated must be insulated by July 1, 2019, although around 100,000 homes will be exempted because there is not enough under-floor or ceiling space to insulate them.

Smith said the insulation retrofitting of an estimated 180,000 rental properties was expected to cost landlords $600 million, while the requirements for smoke alarms was expected to cost them $7 million. Officials estimated these extra costs were expected to increase rents by around $3.20 per week.

The laws would also be changed to make it easier for the Government to prosecute landlords who flout the laws and all rental properties would be required to have smoke alarms from July 1, 2016, he said. Laws would also be changed to allow landlords to more quickly re-tenant properties that had been abandoned.

"This pragmatic package of tenancy law changes will make homes warmer, drier and safer for hundreds of thousands of New Zealand families without imposing excessive bureaucracy or cost," Smith said.

"The new law will require retrofitting of ceiling and underfloor insulation in rental homes over the next four years. The requirement applies from 1 July 2016 for social housing that is heavily subsidised by Government, and from 1 July 2019 for other rental housing, including boarding houses. There will be exemptions, such as where it is physically impractical to retrofit insulation due to limited space underfloor or inaccessible raked ceilings," he said.

"There will also be a new requirement from 1 July 2016 for all landlords to state in tenancy agreements the level of ceiling, underfloor and wall insulation to help better inform tenants."

Regulations would make landlords responsible for ensuring an operational smoke alarm was in place, and tenants would be responsible for replacing batteries or notifying landlords of defects. Long life (10-year) photoelectric alarms would be required where there was no existing alarm or when replacing an existing alarm.

New powers for MBIE

"The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will have new powers to investigate and prosecute landlords for breaking tenancy laws as part of these reforms, particularly where there is risk to the health and safety of tenants. The changes will also ensure tenants can take concerns to the Tenancy Tribunal without fear of being evicted for doing so," Smith said.

He told a news conference there had been just two prosecutions of landlords since 1986 under the current law, which required tenants to give evidence and for landlords to allow authorities onto their properties to give evidence.

"There will be a new 10-day process introduced to enable re-tenanting of properties where a tenant abandons a property with no intention of returning. The current process can take up to six weeks leaving a house empty and the landlord out of pocket," he said.

'Rental WOF too costly'

Smith said the package announced was more pragmatic and less costly than a rental Warrant of Fitness scheme, which has been called for by the Opposition and was trialled by Housing NZ Corp.

"Such a scheme would cost $100 million per year, or $225 per house for inspections alone, and these costs would be passed on to tenants in rents. This is money we believe is better spent on real improvements like insulation and smoke alarms," Smith said.

"Significant issues like leaky roofs, insecure doors, excessive dampness and unsafe wiring are already covered by existing regulations, and the better response is tougher enforcement. Other issues like window stays, glass visibility safety strips and hot water temperature are best improved by education."

Smith said the benefits of insulation was $2.10 for ever $1 spent, while the benefits of smoke alarms was $15.10 for every $1 of cost.

"These reforms will require 180,000 homes to be insulated and the 120,000 homes currently without smoke alarms to have them installed. The health benefits of this will be reduced hospitalisations from circulatory and respiratory illnesses, reduced pharmaceutical costs, and fewer days off work and school. The smoke alarms are expected to save three lives per year," Smith says.

A Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill would be introduced to Parliament by October.

Political reaction

Labour Housing Spokesman Phil Twyford said the insulation and smoke alarm standards were a step in the right direction, but the Government could do more.

“Insulating a cold house without requiring modern efficient heating will still leave tenants at risk of respiratory diseases," Twyford said.

“Sadly this is the kind of grudging half-measure that’s become the trade mark of National’s housing policy, where initiatives are only announced when they are forced by public opinion. New Zealanders want the Government to ensure all rental properties are warm and dry," he said.

“It’s the right thing to do and it’s an economic no-brainer given that for every $1 spent on retrofitting the country saves $5 on public health expenditure. More than half of all New Zealanders are renters. It is past time the Government made serious reforms to make rentals warm and dry, and encouraged more security of tenure and longer-term leases."

Green Co-Leader Metiria Turei said the Government should re-commit to its agreement with the Green Party over the Warm Up New Zealand programme of subsidising insulation.

“While minimum standards for insulation and smoke alarms in rentals are just two small steps the Government should be taking to keep tenants healthy and safe, we think this is a good opportunity to resurrect the Warm Up New Zealand scheme, which National abandoned in 2013,” Turei said.

“Warm Up New Zealand is a proven campaign that showed real results – it insulated 235,000 Kiwi homes and created a boon for the insulation industry, before National decided to drastically scale it back," she said.

“Insulation and working smoke alarms are not in themselves going to fix the appalling state of rental stock in this country, or prevent New Zealanders from getting sick from their cold, damp homes this winter. To do that, the Government would need to introduce a wide-ranging housing warrant of fitness with enforceable minimum standards across the board."

(Updated with more detail, reaction)

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?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


Comment Filter

Highlight new comments in the last hr(s).

Only a guestimate -- rental properties tend to have 'bad' aspects, which is the root of not being dry, warm etc.

Roof and underfloor insulation is a good start but the house will still be cold and damp if the aspect is crap.

.. and of course those leaky homes and Christchurch write-offs that no one would touch as their own home, but just perfect for a landlord..

Most of the ChCh as is homes are warm dry homes. Being out of level does not affect insulation.

The ones that are filled with cracks are not the ones being sold and rented. Go have a look out there before you make silly comments.

The cracked up ones that are lived in are generally people waiting for insurers.

A step in the right direction.

No it's a step towards a nanny state and is also totally hypocritical.

In ChCh Fletchers wouldn't even let people insulate walls while linings were off even if they wanted to.

Houses have been rebricked without insulation or building paper.

Yet here we have a Govt legislating to insulate underfloor which will do absolutely nothing to improve the warmth of a home.

Next they will insist landlords provide tenants with toothbrushes to improve their oral health!

Ceiling insulation is ok, underfloor is downright dumb unless you have a large basement open to the external air temperature.

Not surprised, reading the Building Act , putting in external insulation or building paper can require expensive delaying consent ! (doing like for like, or insulating internal walls, does not require consent).

the building paper counts as altering the external moisture barrier to the house, which is a consent/inspection issue.

underfloor does help, but polythene moisture barrier is more effective for less hassle, and underfloor ranks behind double glazing (even double glazing most used or south and west (east?) windows)

Good curtains beat double glazing any day.

A dehumidifier or proper heat recovery system is needed to prevent condensation and dampness. This is far more important than any insulation except for ceiling insulation.

"Good curtains beat double glazing any day."

Utterly ridiculous.

Quote from Consumer:

"A good set of curtains can be as effective as double-glazing at reducing heat loss from windows"

EECA's website says good curtains reduce heat loss 60% on single glazed windows but only 40-50% on double glazed windows.

They also say good double glazing can up to halve the heat loss compared to single glazed but this depends on the type of double glazing.

Assuming EECA's statements are approximately correct then if standard double glazing reduced heat loss compared to single glazing by 40% (I doubt it is that high) and the window was curtained cutting heat loss by another 40%. This is equal to a 64% cut in heat loss, so only marginally better than good curtains on a single glazed window.

So, not utterly ridiculous, in fact a fact.

Double glazing is a waste of money unless the windows are uncurtained.

Convenient how you neglected to mention this (from the same EECA article you reference):

"Of course, as they only work when they are drawn, curtains and blinds they are not a substitute for proper double glazing."

And the Consumer article specifically states that you should get your curtains sorted INSTALLING DOUBLE GLAZING - so advising that you SHOULD double glaze.

So yes, your comment was utterly ridiculous, and your selective "fact" quoting is laughable.

I open the curtains in day light thus increase solar gain and a bit of UV/light sterilisation and the nice light house aspect - even on cold, damp, windy days.

Without the double glaze I get major heat loss doing so, and cold spots near windows extending a meter into the room.

And at night, I have double glaze and beautiful heavy curtains with thermal coating.
what are you going to do ? Put up two layers of curtains?

I had considered Ardiuno operated storm shutters for outside once but with the double glaze there is no significant temperature shear so it wasn't worth the hassle.

but yes, ceiling insulation, then dehumidifer, there we agree. and curtains are way cheap (and more accessible to people) than double glaze. Although for new builds I'd absolutely demand double glaze (with "thermal break" if you can get it).

A thought experiment: the safest kind.

MBIE minion (MM) rocks up to a hoose owned by Evil Landlord (EL). Here's their conversation.

MM: I believe that this 'ere Hoose has little or no Insulation, based on its 1974 Building Permit doco.

EL: Why you are mistaken, it has foil lining behind the Gib throughout, and that includes the ceiling. And, little minion, you aren't gonna even think about putting Holes in the Gib to check that, thereby acting like a Bad Tenant and reducing my chances of Ongoing Cashflow.

MM: Er - well, how shall we confirm this then?

EL: Beats me, perhaps you just tick the box and shuffle off to the next Hoose on your List? we have an earthquake and although stastically the chances of another are now much less than prior to, we are running around with new standards in the interests of publc safety - bankrupting some property owners in the process.

yet we have an actual measurable and real health issue (not one that is now only a reduced possibility) causing measurable and high health costs to the public and taxpayer - but somehow that's different?

Please stop talking so much sense!

"all rental properties would be required to have smoke alarms from July 1, 2016,"
Just make them free and compulsory for all homes? What century do we live in?

If tenants value their families that much why aren't they buying their own? I don't know an owner that would object to it being fitted.

Smoke alarms are $7.99 at the warehouse

If this insulation is SO important why are EQC leaving houses uninsulated when doing repairs?

If a Licensed Building Practitioner LBP has to do the repair work then the repairs are meant to be up to the current building code!

like-for-like doesn't need consent, so can be done back up to how it was.
Improvement beyond that would require the LBP to file for consent approval for each job.

Just been through this my my own council. Fortunately the improvements were made with me, the Owner Builder, and didn't cover structural or weatherproofing (building paper is already on stucco/roughcast buildings). If my LBP friend had done the work alone, or if the building paper wasn't already present, then consents (and inspections) would have been necessary. We also left all window headings and sills intact, otherwise that would also have required consent and inspection.

What is sad is that Government didn't fast track powers of limited inspection for "standard" repairs for the LBP and do batch sample inspection instead (and just check paperwork) for large numbers of similar repairs. Again government thinking like bureaucrats and academics rather than looking for best solution now. If they'd fast tracked it, then we could have twice the non-local production, feeding new windows, insulation, roofing, cement in; but instead government would rather see boxes ticked and old problems restored rather than move forward.... but what can you expect from a media showpny and a guy that think farm tractors should have full road WoF just to travel 10meters outside their own farm...

I dispute that Cowboy....any works that needs an LBP and has to go through the council processes has to be up to the current building code.....Council requires the LBP number to be on the works completed.
You can't get the works signed off if it isn't up to code.

Fletchers tell them not to. I have photos of some of the houses I've seen being done. It is sheer lunacy not installing $100 of building paper on a $10,000 rebricking.

If the Govt want houses insulated they should pay.

Rents will go up dramatically to pay for these sort of stupid policies.

Most houses are cold because the occupants don't ventilate it and don't heat it.

Ceiling insulation is in almost all homes anyway. Underfloor insulation is too difficult to install and generally makes absolutely no difference. Wall insulation causes more problems than it is worth if installed incorrectly. don't get it (or dont want to). The Govt is the tax payer.

We have nanny state (as some like to call it) which means we have the health sytem and other public resources that step in - paid for by us. Nanny has an obligation to mitigate the cost on it (eg tobacco tax) when it can. For exactly the same reason as a smoke tax they should be addressing this other major health issue. I suggest a visit to Middlemore Hospital. Go to the kids ward, speak to a nurse or two...obatin the cost per day to keep these kids in there..and they are repeat visits..fixed by us at thousands per bed per day, just to return. Tax payer funded wealth transfer to landlords.

Their parents should turn the heater on and ventilate their house or buy a dehumidifier.

I am sick of useless people blaming others for their own problems.

It is not the landlord's responsibility to keep people warm. If tenants don't turn heaters on a house will never be warm.

NOTE: I have no problem with requiring ceiling insulation, although the govt should contribute as it is their fault that they removed insulation requirements in the past. (They have had 40 plus years to get ceilings insulated and they have never done it properly).

Under floor insulation is an expensive waste of time and money.

You do understand there are many, many people who simply cannot afford to be turning heaters on willy nilly, don't you?
If you don't, I suggest you get yourself a bit of information about the reality for many, THEN make your comments.
Get and insulate your overpriced rentals

Without heating, insulation will not make one iota of difference.

If people can't afford heating, they are either living a lifestyle they can not afford and should move. If they are migrants, why did we let them in?

Heating at most would cost about $80pw for a small home during the coldest months if 2kW was left on almost constantly. On average throughout the year the heating would at most be say $30pw. The rent is probably 15 times that amount.

How about some personal responsibility?

If a tenant chooses a cold house because it's cheap rent, they should realise they have to pay more for heating.

Also, removing moisture from a house makes it significantly warmer. A quality dehumidifier should be used in all houses and is as important as a heater.

sadly many NZ people are so poorly educated they don't even realise they should pay for their own consumption, let alone that heating a cheap house might cost more in the long run.

$80/wk is more than most have available.

and I agree about the dehumidifier, I use wall mounted inverters - but they are expensive, so when I'm having a hard time finding a job buying more of them for my tenants comfort is a challenge.

re: daft kiwis.
My own parents now 75+ yrs ol, on selling up the farm wanted a warm house to retire in.
so what did they do? They got a place on a riverbank, with trees, in the Wairarapa, 1970's construction, with no thermal mass or energy design program, no underfloor or wall insulation, no double glazing, not even design for a northern aspect. Most just HRV and the flat panel heaters, and a recycled wood fired boiler with radiators and for hotwater wetback.
These kiwis have been running successful business, commercial rentals, teachers, and owning businesses with several staff....well above average...yet they can't even understand basic building heating.

What hope do the poorly educated gimmes have?
Apparently it is very cold in the mornings and most of the day....

Wow, sounds like happy hour for the libertarians here.

So easy to talk about people 'choosing' to rent cold places and not taking responsibility when, for many families it is a choice between heating or food. These are the people servicing your mortgage and allowing you to reap huge untaxed capital gains over time. These are people who pay up to 50% of their income for the privilege. Is it any wonder that some don't feel as invested in maintaining your precious smoke alarms as you do?

We only rent out properties that we have lived in ourselves or would be prepared to live in and try to consider the relationship from the tenants' perspective. NZ's housing stock has been inadequately insulated for many decades and we have lived in a number of places where it was colder inside than outside in winter and stinking hot in summer. Guess that slumlords have a different perspective on renting and tenants.

my choice is current heating or food... whats your point.

No these people are not servicing my mortgage. I am servicing my mortgage.
I buy a plane ticket, doesn't mean I own the airline ro rent the plane - I'm buying a service.

Precious smoke alarms... install for their safety, destroyed by them. not paid for because tenancy tribunal won't hold for such "pettiness".

My tenancies are _nicer_ than my home.
But then I run a NZ based small business, such sacrifices are required. Just as I do much of the work as I can to make the few dollars go further.

Let me guess, Proletariat, you have a nice comfortable middle class income and family, or better.
How about you point that chubby privileged finger elsewhere, I've got the heating running today so I'm a mite hungry.

Interesting that your tenants don't pay your mortgage cowboy and that you are either starving or freezing. Perhaps you need some financial advice on how to budget better? You could always pop into the City Mission foodbank and maybe spend some quality time with your tenants over a can of baked beans?

How many properties do you own? Does the name Scrooge ring a bell? Why rent the property out at all if tenants are not servicing your mortgage? Ahh, perhaps you are in the 'property investors are providing a social service' category that the Property Investors' Federation loves to propound. So generous of you. Assuming you donate the untaxed capital gains when you sell your property to charity as well?

We run a small business too and, if you knew the meaning of "Proletariat" you might appreciate that we don't come from middle-class privilege. it's hard to save and make money for most of us but capital gains on property while tenants pay most of the ongoing costs is the easiest money anyone can make. Instead of feeling modest or even slightly embarassed by this reality, we have the landed gentry prosecuting the serfs for not maintaining their tenements.

There are people who behave badly from all walks of life - tenants and landlords alike. With financial privilege of having relative wealth also comes a responsibility to consider those less fortunate.

The outright vilification of tenants as a class of people by so many is unjustified and uncalled for.

I don't have a mortgage (personally). I'm not starving, not at all. I just don't have much to money spend , at least until I get re-employed or a new business kicked off, but I formalising some university study at the moment. I budget myself $80/week (on top of internet), because government take 700 PAYE & 550 Child Support a month at the moment.
Most of the properties are in Trusts. And not as a dodge. Currently 5 total. Deleveraging as fast as possible, because soon kids will be leaving their mothers nests and I hope to make sure they don't get cwamped in student debt, or stopped from developing a business because they couldn't get any kick-off/ A funds.

I have in teh past made the give the tenants the break I didn't have. One couple did great, saved started their own security business. Others trashed the places etc. What I did find I because I didn't sell the businesses services to the tenants at a proper market level, I didn't have the funds built up to repair the damage, or to catch out of some larger maintenance issues that popped up. That's why I keep saying to everyone. It's a business, run it properly. Your customers won't thank you tomorrow if todays price is too cheap and you go out of business - they'll just think you're incompetent...and they won't be far wrong. The best you can really do is offer them fair and no lies but that's hard in competitive industries, and there has never been the barrels or spare money in NZ economy to establish a fair oversupply of quality housing. that's another reason residential property leverage -can- go so high, with such individual high price units (>annual gross median wage) no one is really going to create that capital to just sit around deliberately. That shapes the market somewhat.

And thus the business has revenue, the business passes it's debts. I like that NZ landlords generally don't do "Dispensation style" US ratholes for Manhattan prices.

One of the best places I lived about 12 years ago I flatted and had a single room & onsuite & garage. So I sublet the room and moved into the garage. It was a modern garage so had good floor clearage vs cleared ground level. It was not damp as I could tell when I checked it out, as all the bugs had dried up and were desiccated on the bare concrete. The walls were corrugated iron as was the roof. I lined it in classic fashion, with flatten cardboard boxes with old curtains and blankets for decoration.
Wouldn't expect my kids to thrive, but it wasn't overly cold through winter or spring, moisture and drafts, not insulation, really is the big difference. I nicknamed by abode "The Hermitage" and the house "the dunny".

Generally I don't support many charities, as they qualify for free labour and lots of tax breaks, and when they do well they tend to either sell assets to corporations or just blow most of their resources on admin/infrastructure etc. One of the highest income people I met in Dunedin got his money doing fund raising and publicity for charities, so I prefer to work closer to home through Freemasons etc where positive grow comes from money put in not just well paid upper level hires, or enabling services which I saw happen a lot when I was late teens. Helping people out either through organisations or by my self just gave them excuses not to do anything. One friend was great with graphics, so I sponsored him a computer, software, drove him places, did some rudimentary programming to help him out. Did I get a thank you? no I got bitched at because the computer I paid didn't run fast enough, and that he couldn't afford to go to university. Turns out the computer was slow, when I bought him an anti-virus, as first step in the "warranty" process for his computer. He had picked up 500 virus infections from 30 different virus, from his flatmate's porn collection. But that was my fault too apparently for not paying to keep his anti-virus up to date.... When I caught up with him 10 years later, he had finished two separate degrees, was running same computer, which I split the update cost for 50/50, and then later he double crossed our whole flat kicked me out "for ruining his life".
So now I'll back crowdfunding ideas, and occasionally go in as second-mortgage/signee for properties if I know the people well enough.

So as someone who has come from nothing, never got shoes until 7. spend time living in car or under bridges, had to eat roadkill when I was a kid because we couldn't afford groceries, been screwed over by an ex- who worked in the bank and spent everything she could get her hands on, been screwed over by unions, bosses, IRD. Then I'm thinking, no, I have no debt of responsibility from wealth. I give the honour of honesty, for that is mine to give, but wealth does not create debt or responsibility - in fact - if those people have ability, that they do not use, do they not owe themselves, their families, their ancestors and descendants, and the community, to find ways to improve themselves? Those who I see that work at that, I give freely what I can afford, and don't hold back, which is one reason the people on this are rather dear to me.

villification of tenants is terrible, yet landlords do take the bigger risk. once that property is wrecked, future tenants and landlords must pay the price. Once again, a few poor apples spoil it for everyone. But sadly in NZ there's more than a few, and sadly for landlords most bad tenants will always stay renters and often be quickly moved around doing maximum damage. Poor areas of town like what my ex- and son end up in, it wasn't the rich people or the landlords that smashed all their windows, dumped rubbish furntiure and clothing on the lawns, left bowls of overflowing cat effluent spilling over the floors, and sold off the hotwater cylinders for a few dollars of copper. Why did my ex- live in such a bad part of town? Because her previous two tenancies had been so grossly neglected, fleas and lice everywhere, holes in the wall, stains from old food over the kitchens, cat stink in everyroom, never aired, never did the lawns but refused to pay for landlord to do them, blew half the wiring in both houses (gods know how) but just left it (her ex-boyfriend after me was an excellent electrician) so no one but Housing NZ would go near her as a tenant. When she we were separated she took property manager role for our family home which was joint property. she stayed there two years free, and while other tenants have busted windows and guttering, stolen all the internal doors, and one external door left like a banana, she's the only one I know that has destroyed a whole garage. Which I found we I finally bought her out. When I started moving the tree limbs sitting on it, the iron lean-tos and boards shoved against it, and propping up the just about came down on me. turns out with the rubbsh she put against it, stuff never moved from around it, limbs deforming the roof that she'd never had removed, all the supports and multiple roofing members & iron had rotted away.
She rented that out. I never saw a penny of it, and bought her out as soon as I could. so definitely bad landlords out their, but also lots of bad tenants.

the main thing is that *I'm* not the one responsible for them. They're responsible for making the effort, and me enabling them like I did with my friend never works out. far better to offer low cost loans, and have them take their own responsibilies and appreciate the costs of their desires so they know what they ask.

One place I read said his greatest lifes regret was setting up Trust allownaces for his children and wife. He said, Having the resources for them to go to college our get a start in business or college, it's priceless, but the biggest mistake in his life was giving them the means to live beyond their own earnings.
And that's what we do when we accept others peoples' burdens as our _responsibility_. Helping needs to stop when it's seen as an entitlement. Because if we take on their burden how will they ever know the truth of the world, or grow straight and strong in it. In taking on their rightful load, we choose to steal that right from them.
Best we can do, be reasonably honest, never deceivers, take our boot off their neck, and offer a hand IF it's reached for. (and be their with a shoulder to lean on when needed from time to time)

And while I remember the proletariat are the middle class, if you check your history.
They weren't the First Estate of the arsitocracy, nor many of the upper ranking Second Estate (priests, military generals advisors/profiteers), or the factory owners or government minister or aides (ie the Bourgeois)

But neither are they unskilled, field workers, farmers, crop hands, hammerhands, shovel labourers/wheelbarrow men, or poor womenfolk (doing washer work, maid, kitchen hands). or the ill or infirm or the old or young. Whom were all too poor or looked down on to get a historical name.

The Proles were the middle. industry workers, dockers, supervisor tradies, administrators, clerks. supervisors, drovers, machine repairs, the blue collar and lower end of the white collar.

Hey cowboy. Sounds like you've done it tough and succeeded. Anyone with five properties and no mortgage is doing pretty well. Not everyone has the same skills, health, opportunities or inclination to achieve the same. Some are more motivated by other values, which is a relief. 'Success' in life can never be totally attributed to a single person's efforts - there are opportunities that they also benefit from that they may not even be aware of (free education, tax advantages, free healthcare, income support when out of work etc.)

Some tenants do terrible things as have some of our small retail business customers and even suppliers but this is not a reason to denigrate them so wholeheartedly.

We only own two properties but, in a previous life, I managed a large portfolio for what could only be termed a slum lord. His approach was to do nothing at all to maintain a property (ignore phone calls, not reply to letters) until the tenants stopped paying rent (which, legally they are not permitted to do). The government subsidised his acquisition of millions of dollars of property by paying rental subsidies and his daughter could enjoy tax-payer funded education support with student allowances as her family were 'low income'. They were doing nothing illegal at the time but it is an example perhaps of how the system benefits those with land and capital over those without.

That's one way to get rich but we try to take a more socially responsible attitude to our land lord responsibilities. Perhaps it is our European background where tenants are not generally regarded as a sub-class of people?

By the way, not sure where you found your definition of "Proletariat" but, in Marxism it is the working-class. I understand the term dates back to Ancient Rome where is was the lowest class of citizens. That's what my Russian history lecture seemed to think anyway.

American's like to conflate the plebians and proletariat together, because they wish to convince people that the proletariat don't have fundamentally different class interests to the privileged, middle class plebians/bourgeois who administer modern society.

Poletariat I got the definition from research Communism, and it's history. Also confirmed from the rise of National Socialist party (bought and paid for by Industralists who owned the German corporations).
The rough term is "working class" but if you dive into the history and academics, much of the lower labour class falls into what in Roman terms is slave or peasent class and is dismissed. Thus the Poletariat were followers of Political Party/representatives that actually line up with what we in modern NZ would have Called a Labour Party/Unionist movement. They had their largest support in the factories and lowest tiers of management, For such "working class" there was a similar attitude to that which exists in NZ today, that ALL farm people are rich farmers and they all own lots of land and food - when things got tough, and with bad logistics they often did, it wasn't the farm families that went hungry, and the farmers already worked all daylight hours, but factory workers could be pushed beyond that.
The burgeious were the followers of the other Politcal speakers and factory/business owners, and tended to get rather fat of the profits, and buy favours at court. Technically they were the Young Nats and Old Money (but not really aristos). To stay in operation the owners tended to have to buy in, but that buy in meant court manners "(NZ equiv, having a boat and golf membership, even if you hated it)

the system which you refer to as having social responsibility, actually hinges on privilege principles.
Example of Rome, which was originally a group of bandits working some trade routs in Italy. A bandit would be expected to follow the gang Leader, look after his weapon, put all loot to the leader, and be awarded a share, including slaves. As they got more successful, they would gain status, act as corporals and sergaents and have gang responsibilies assign to them for the success of the ventures proposed/approved by the gang Leader. Things done by a slave, would fall on the owner of the slave first, for lack of control over his property, and responsibilities coming from his rank in the bandit group. Just as each warrior bandit is responsible for his bravery in combat, condition of his armour and weapon.
When things settled down, some slaves would have better talents than others, leading to specialisation, but each owner bandit, would still be expected to pool his thievings and take home his share. Stealing from other bandits would lead to chaos, so would be punished harshly...and considering have specialist slaves, and tiers of society (horse and property owning bandits, rich and established with the lords ear from the earlier days, those who weren't raiders but may be smiths or expert animal handlers, or building makers would also have valuable skills that bought honour (and wealth) to their bandit warrior. And slaves. But systems develop that see a warrior bandit, or statesman, working in trade under his rank as unacceptable and a sign of weakness - even theft of profit from other specialists.

Oops...was I describing Rome? or Vikings? or Celts?

or Medieval England.
Where the gentry were allocated lands to administer, that were previously tribe based earldoms (Eorls on their Hyde). The gentry weren't aristocracy at court, the court was the old people of power, the nobles and Equites. The gentry were a class lower, a professional educated class. And as such banned by law from working at manual tasks in order to see that they minded their professional duties - although as readers, professions such a law and medicine were popular; as were openings both ways into priesthood, reading military (officers), and when it was invented, professional accounting. as the gentry were the accountants and county lawyer/judge in many cases, being learned men.
It was entrusted to the gentry to keep the country going, and as such they were allowed to tax their underlings in order to see to that duty, and the gentry had duty of care for that privilege to see that their underlings were protected (Eorls of old), financial organised, employed and healthy, and prepared in times of disaster or famine (by large stores kept lock and key under the manor house). of course, for extra income some gentry taxed heavily, gambled more, and sold off any provisions.

But that's the origin of our NZ based tort system. such Citizens (Roman sense) were upper classes, expect to have good income and resources, slaves, and responsibiilities to the State. In return they received benefits of owning slaves, receiving dole (corn, gold, land, tax money - depending on the culture you're pointing at), having right to free entry into public baths and works, and right to speak or representation, and to free access to available learning (although tutors and materials still had to be paid).
Thus the tort law, meant that if you didn't see to your responsibilites then your got a black mark against your honour, and paid a forfeit from your loot. In return for those benefits membership to the privileged class gave you, one was expected to behave in certain manner and see to certain duties according to that rank. Thus me out painting my window eaves today in less than perfect fashion although servicable is unbecoming of a house fitted to a wealthy citizen, and I would receive censure and forfeit and forced to do it again. Too much insult or proof of incompetence or cowardice I may even face sterner penalties.

But all these things.... have two things in common.
(1) they rely on a merchantile system, where the citizen receives membership bonus from State taken from outsiders or slaves.
(2) all Citizens effectively form the government, and thus they have such social responsibilties, not us free men.

success in life can be traced to a single persons efforts, as can failure, apparently in some cases.

Please don't think those properties are clear of debt. Oh no, I'm good, but I'm not that lucky and never had above median salary and been in and out of employment thanks to closedowns (and only got a modest redundancy once). They don't have mortgages though. interested parties yes. personal short and long term debt yes.
I'll spare you the whole sob story, as everyone else has heard it at least once too often.

What does concern me is that residential property is one of the few NZ investments left that give positive return in NZ and are benefit to everybody - and are quickly getting out of reach.

those who are receiving taxpayer based incomes and thus have specific duty-of-care to NZ, generally to NZers and NZ economy, aren't well educated (they are taught poorly) and not instructed or empowered well to do what needs to be done - thus they become a nanny state, and keeping power - rather than an empowering State, equiping people to maximise their worth.

And that is what worries me. What few benefits are available, and the advantage that people like me had, the State which has the contract and is paid to improve things does exactly the opposite and seeks to destroy other peoples' wealth quickly (eg RBNZ putting OCR as soon as it might be dairy farmers get a good payout - yet do those farmers get subsides now it is negative no.) The State members who have tort responsibilty for position and get a cut of the take, spend it debying responsibility, and disempowering NZers.
Such they should be ensuring that those who want houses can buy them, empowering FHB, not cutting them off at the knee, keeping the hordes from taking the best property and depressing NZ internal economy, teaching people skills they can use, and making sure the labour value is up (not destroying wealth to keep everyone poor).

Thus insulation, will cost tenants, and must always, but how come the state doesn't empower that contract to be bargined. If a tenant says I want insulation, I will pay $10/week, why can they not go to arbitration for injunction to do that, if the landlord disagrees???

With insulation in play, will government "pool wealth" be used to subsidise the dehumidifiers, if requested? They better - with no benefit or means requirement. and without the usual super kickback wealth trail like before. My Batts installer refused to do standard install, he would only do government rebated work, as he made a fortune from the time making up the paperwork - more than doing the job and much more pleasant surroundings, all at government expense and no value add to me.
that kind of deal is what I fight.

That and stopping other NZers getting into housing. Or setting up "matchgirl" businesses/situations.

Actually Cowboy, the "middle class" you describe were called the Plebians or "common people" as opposed to the patricians or Equites, during Roman times. The proletarians in the later Republican and Imperial eras didn't have to work.

The white collar workers were probably drawn from the Plebian class, though the use of well educated, especially Greek slaves complicates the picture somewhat.

The work done by what you refer to as unskilled workers would have been performed by slaves during the Roman era, an institution which only ended in the 12th Century in Christian Europe, though in regions of Europe with non-Christian minorities, it continued well into the 16th Century and even later.

the prolet were industrial class in Russia, where the socialism stuff tends to drift from.

Romans not so big on socialist justice, there's was more rank gave you right in matters justice. court was for matter between people of equal rank based on the value of the speaker, not the contract.

the wiki seems reasonable in covering the basics.
The Poletariat Romans were still Citizens, they were workers, not just fields people and labourers (who were, as you mention slaves).
Probably how Marx etc got the working class from that the unionist and communists picked up.
Hitlers backing from the Industralists was because they needed to hold onto ownership of resources (resist State taking their merchantile income ) and they Industralists needed to keep their staff from being influenced by Labour Unions (The Poleriat party influence), hence the Industralists needed a party they could buy, that didn't have a particular strong dogma that could be influenced, and who wasn't already popular. By promoting Patriotism and Socialism, they intended to isolate the German workers from foreign influence, while giving an opposing carrot to anyone who felt disenfranchised...and since it was the Industralists running the show they already had the Industry and Banking sewn up, and heavy influence on logistics and railways. All they needed was to seize basic resource supply and a good reason to make factories run overtime. And they would effectively own Germany.

without insulation, a house has to be heated more often, and for longer.
Of course insulation makes a difference to how warm a house is, what an inane comment to make.
An insulated house can trap heat from the sun during the day.
An uninsulated one will let that heat evaporate.
You should check out consumer magazine on dehumidifiers. They state that a dehumidifier is only really effective when it is warm. Which is why they recommend dehumidifiers which have a heating element in them, so they can warm the air as they try and take the moisture out of it.
Those dehumidifiers cost between 200 and 400 NZD. if you have 15 bucks a day to spend on food, you can imagine (or maybe you can't) that such an appliance is quite low on the list of priorities.
If you choose to be a landlord, it is up to you to ensure that your house is liveable. Renting out an uninsulated, damp house, is...well.... dare I say it: Not taking personal responsibility......

the insulation, not really.
In fact it normally makes them colder for most of the day as the heat on the external walls can't soak through. Also that coolness also tends to make the structure and furnishing hold more moisture (it doesn't get airbourne so you need a lot lower humidity to encourage vapour pressure to lift the damp into air moisture... which sucks up a _lot_ of heat energy, keeping the house colder for longer.

steps are
insulate (yes it makes your house colder!!!)
dehumidifier (& polythene under house, learn housekeeping steps for NZ)
THEN heat.

the dry air doesn't take up the energy as fast, but the air molecules are much further apart and easier to heat than the water molecules. Also getting the moisture out of beds!! couchs! curtains, clothes, and carpet, is hugely easier with dry air. and without all that moisture in the furnishing the furnishing heat faster....
and when you touch them they are drier so heat energy doesn't transfer as quickly (we feel "heat" as the speed the temperature drops or rises, that's why water of the same temperature as the air feels cooler, as the energy transfers faster into the water, making our senses think it's much colder than it is - also the heat transferred in this way to dry air or dry objects isn't mobile so it feels warmer all the time, heat lost to wet objects is rapidly transferred to the rest of the dampness, so the damp objects feel colder for longer, and suck more heat from our bodies.)

I have used dehumidifiers in Dunedin, in the coldest corner or the house. they work. yes a fancy heating element might work, or put an electric heater in the same room to quickly bring up the heat. (just don't use gas standalone, as it will put mositure back in faster than you're paying to take it out).

As for the landlord.
If they don't misrepresent the house it is the _tenants_ choice. the landlord is not responsible for the tenants decisions nor are the tenants mother or nanny. The tenant chooses what services they want, pays the agreed price, landlord provides what was agreed. not extra damage or cheating either side. What about that is hard to grasp.

I would like to see government say to WINZ to ok dehumidifiers but I'm pretty sure that WINZ would actually ok such a purchase on existing system, if the request is by someone not overspending.

Or for the working poor, Noel Lemmings and Harvey Norman frequently have 2,3,4 years no interest terms, or 2years with 3 more to pay, at reasonable rates. And often will arrange delivery for a slight addition. that's where I got my last one. 400 bucks over 3 years won't knock over even folks like myself operating on 60/wk food bill (including power apportionment)

Generally insulating does not make your house colder overall. Except in very specific circumstances ofa north facing room on a sunny day in a certain time period) as its a NET problem. ie you may gain from the sun from the north wall between say 10am and 4pm but you dont lose on the south wall and probably not on the east or west either and overnight you lose on them all. (ignoring the roof and floor for a moment).

every house I insulated has got colder.

no longer does solar gain over the whole wall or roof contribute to the internal temperature.
and night time is long enough time for heat to rreach equilibrium to outside background levels so around 5am it's not much different from outside. and then stays cooler for longer...and hotter at night in summer.
you tend not to lose much heat from the south wall in the morning as the whole place is isothermic. then north and roof get externally heated, but it can't transfer in very quick, so still no losses out the south.

At night, what little heat is there will linger longer, but not enough to affect the morning T(0) state.

Thus insulation step one.
remove moisture step two.
three a bit of heating

on three makes a world of difference. now. but insulating alone. no. and having the moisture, warm moisture? that has to be reheated every day? just how sick do you want people?

all three form the basis for the heating.
without insulation any heat pours away quickly (but at least house heats quickly from outside)
with moisture the water is expensive and slow to heat, and makes places musty and smelly and mouldy.
without heat = cold house that stays cold.

The best bit is with insulation and proper moisture design, what little heat is required can be gain by solar trapping, or little cost..

anyway that's how it is. talk to other builders and they'll agree.
Must go now. not getting anything done been on forums all day since 5am this morning.

Hmm not strictly true. Without insulation walls transmit more heat to outside so the heater needs to be bigger to combat the losses. So an un-insulated wall has say a "U" factor of 1, a well insulated wall has a U of 0.25 but you still need a heater just a smaller one or the big one is on far less. (Ignoring 1/3NV air losses).

It isnt a case of personal responsibility. eg I own my own home, I cant afford to heat the entire house so I just heat the 2 or 3 rooms and occupy those most of the time in the winter.

So the difference between myself and a renter as an occupier is what? Well, a house built without insulation, say built in the 1930s was and is perfectly liveable, you just have to heat it more than a new one, the difference is now energy is significantly more expensive.

DFTBA an insulated house with no heating is going to be freezing, especially if the occupants don't get up early enough to open the curtains and let any sunshine in.

The most important thing to having a house comfortable is having it warm and dry. Warm is got with heating. Dry is got with ventilation or by a dehumidifier.

Ceiling insulation is very important, but wall insulation and underfloor less so.

I am sick of people blaming houses for being damp. Only if the house is sitting next to a bank or with leaks or rising damp is a house damp on its own account.

99% of damp homes are due to the soggy and useless occupants who can't sort their own lives out to even open a window or run a dehumidifier or turn on a heater.

Worst of all are those that decide to use their home as a Chinese laundry, filling the house with moisture and causing mould and mildew issues.

The solution to damp homes is education for the silly people who fill their homes with steam, wet laundry and gas heaters then go and complain to the landlord their home is damp!!

The garage I lived in was bare concrete floor, no insulation, unlined metal walls on timber frame, normal 10 mm gap under front double doors, 2 Large windows over work bench to the South. 100mm minimum height to cleared ground level for top of slab.
It warmed from solar input to the outside, and had air movement and was dry enough to desiccate weeds and insects completely.

If you've ever tried drying herbs (or making compost) then you know air movement is critical to stopping (or creating) dampness and mould.

It's why wet shoes/gear or clothes must be aired and dry before being put in cupboards/closets. And why putting damp things into closets and boxes makes everything get damp and mouldy.

The air movement is required to _take_the_water_ *away*, otherwise you're just shifting it from object to air and back again, or from object to object.

Another major NZ point of failure is people allowing the airing vent holes around their foundations to become obstructed.
Often those vent holes add up to an area which is too small or barely adequate, so keeping them clear is important. That especially includes the ones on the lee (sheltered) side of the house because they allow the moisture to escape! (the damp air is hardly likely to push out against the incoming breeze.)

Many of the older house designs were stilt houses, they had plenty of drying breeze.
NZ enclosed/ring foundations do not have that air flow, allowing slow to warm moisture building up under houses, and even condensate build up along wall lines as moisture cools and absorbs into the bottom plate from the walls catchment area. But without the breeze of old times that moisture isn't taken away.

That evaporation does have a cooling effect though, so that's where the extra floor insulation can work. But once again, it's about getting rid of moisture first, then heating objects.

Um no,

No its not 2kw per house, its 2kw per room typically. eg My heating bill for a 130sqm house goes past $400 a month in the 2 or 3 coldest months of the year I am running a 400w dehumid and running 2 x 2.4kw units and 2 x 1kw units.

Tenants often dont choose to live cheaply, when you are on the min wage or benefit you have little choice.

Removing moisture does not make a house warmer expect the energy to run the unit gets dumped into the room. What tends to happen is as water vapour is removed from a space water vapour moves into that space from outside.

Good grief. I heat a 200m2 house with a single 8kW heat pump and the entire house is no less than 20 degrees (in Chch), the bill for having that running constantly (it is the only heating needed) in the very coldest month adds absolutely no more than $200 per month (three hundred and something total) including running a dehumidifier.

The house is single glazed on a concrete slab (no additional insulation), minimum requirements for ceiling insulation etc.

whats your altitude and surrounds? $200 is quite high.

is 8kWh the input or output (8kWh input is large, kicks out about 20kWh and would probably be distributed system through ceiling vents,), 8Wh output is moderate size back-to-back wall style and I'd be surprised if it would do the whole 200m2, but 2kWh output is about 2.4kWh input, so about the same as a standard standalone electric heater, but it'll be running flat out to get $200 extra a month.
How long does it take to fill the dehumidifier?

Double glaze for place like that, probably cost 15-18k. Thats why most families pay for the electrciity, you can pay a lot of $200/months for 15k. I just love being able to open curtains while heat is running, the natural light is good for me, good for house, helps push back SADD, but having UV tints to protect tenants furniture means they do have to vacuum for health reasons...although saying that, curtains drawn I can see the comp monitor

Heat Pumps won't run at peak draw for the entire time.

yes, which is why $200 extra is quite a load if it's 8kWh output. means it's working pretty hard (although that is the worst case)

168 hours per week at 30c/kWh is about $50pw. So about $200 per month for 1kWh on constantly.

8kW heatpump using about 3kW when on full, plus a dehumidifier that I can't be bothered looking to see what the rating is, but overall on average in the coldest months not more than about $200 per month or an average of 1kWh on constantly.

I note that the current internal temperature is 23.4 degrees, exterior is -1 degree.

which gives a constant 1:2 ratio workload 24/7, above the other months.

that's quite a load for light engineered machinery.
not dreadful (since that's a worst case) but probably near extreme levels of it's operating capacity.

dehumidifiers IIRC are 700W-1500W for the standalones. to start with they run for long periods, but with the big three (insulation, moisture removal, heat) their load ratio drops back considerably.

Heat pumps have a factor of 2.5kw for every 1kw used, electric radiators have a 1kw to 1kw ratio.

So in simple terms this means 8kw of heating costs you 8/2.5=3.2kw of electrcity (roughly). Or another way that $200 a month becomes x2.5 = $500 a month which is actually my bill today when you heat using electrical heaters.

the 2.5 to 1 does move about a bit because we're almost always going against the grain. we want heat from outside when it's cold, and to pump out heat when outside is warm.

That's why I'm surprised they don't split the radiator unit or put it in garage/underfloor or other more "mean temperature" location. mines reasonably shelter, but some folks are trying to pull heat from gale force freezing night winds, so I do wonder if they're getting the true efficiency.

I also find heat pumps don't make good floor warmers, I wondered also about 500 W heat lamps on timer/smarthouse circuit, kick them in 15 minutes before family is moving. just in a few key spots (hallway, lounge, kitchen). kick those surface areas up a few degrees? You think that sounds feasible?

Buy a heatpump Steven!

"No it's a step towards a nanny state "
So on the one hand you're saying you don't want the government stepping in and setting a standard you have to get your properties up to, yet on the other you say that its their fault for removing requirements for you to do so;
"govt should contribute as it is their fault that they removed insulation requirements in the past."


Incidentally I do think landlords should be incentivised to do this sooner than 2019 and helped out with the cost, not totally as you have clearly had many years worth of income and capital gains from your asset and you SHOULD be improving it as you go rather than just maintaining it at the absolute minimum standard you can legally get away with.

If they had left requirements to upgrade insulation at time of renovation there would have been fewer uninsulated houses. In the past 40 years a majority of homes have had renovations of some sort. The added cost of a bale of batts when a wall is relined is minimal, yet this sort of work has gone on especially in ChCh post EQ without insulation added.

Instead they add some nanny state provisions whereby when no work at all is being done there is an arbitrary requirement to add insulation that in many cases (for subfloor insulation) will achieve nothing at all.

It still boils down to choice, i.e. "must do" versus "should do". Surely a responsible landlord (holding an asset for the long term) would choose to insulate rather than electing not too because of the lack of a legal requirement? I agree that the government's statement is poorly thought out. they should take steps to address the root of the problem, i.e. poor quality of housing and building in NZ. There's only so much that can be done with existing stock.

problem is in NZ the tenant is extremely price sensitive - so is likely to pick the cheaper house, then just complain about no insulation as they see that as the landlords fault. If the landlord wants tenants, insulation and higher price doesn't appeal to most of the market. (hence probably the need for the leg.)

A house generally will meet the standards of when it was built, so why is it 50, 70 years ago houses were OK with no insulation but today not? maybe the game changer is actually the cost of energy? Its gone from very cheap and "throw away" to harshly expensive.

Responsible? I dont see why (within reason) Renting is a business it is the responsibility of the landlord to make a living balancing what the renter wants with what the renter will pay. Simple if the renter wants an insulated house its easy to go rent one.

On top of that it seems many landlords actually have a very low income on the property and therefore seem to do little maintenance aiming for a tax free payout one day.

or security for future loans.
I think insulation is more common too, better quality (the old standard was 2.2 in roof) and much easier to get. I just see it as silly in the modern world to have to generate extra energy just to pour it down the drain from poorly insulated house. If I start insulating, LED lights...I start moving towards low energy community, less rivers need damming, less hills need windmills, less excuse for nuclear bomb in a basket.

in this case it's insurance companies doing work, that if done privately, and if didn't carry the barrier of consent, WOULD have been done. but _because_ of the law they can not do it.

it's ridiculous that we have to talk about houses not being insulated.

It's as simple as nobody should make any profit by renting a house that is not insulated just like nobody should make any profit by renting an unsafe car, or selling a pill that is dangerous for health, etc.

It's basic, so as a tenant I welcome these regulations and I wish it wasn't necessary to do it.. but after having paid almost $500 a week for a non insulated house I'm quite annoyed..

No one owes you anything. If you want an insulated house. Buy one.

It's generally not a big deal or expense to insulate ceiling and under floor.

Sure it takes away the choice to pay less rent to live in an uninsulated house, but if people are allowed to chose to live with less amenity for less cost they will often choose unsafe and unsanitary housing. This stops the most vulnerable tenants ending up in unsatisfactory housing. You can argue that substandard housing is better than no housing, but this seems to be quite a reasonable minimum.

Insulating under floor when their is only 450mm clearance ground to floor boards and perhaps 200mm under the bearers is very expensive to insulate, it is also barely of any benefit.

it does get quite expensive. ask the tenants you know, if they want to pay another $30/wk?

Bit like saying if you want milk that is safe and healthy, buy a cow, isn't it? Farmers, cafes, restaurants, fish & chip shops etc meet plenty of regulatory standards in supplying foodstuffs. Why do you think there should be some of of difference in protecting public health with respect to the business of supplying permanent living accommodation?

II just don't get residential landlords. Returns must be really bad or leverage must be too high for those in a tailspin on this sort of minor capital improvement announcement.

yes the returns _are_ really bad. 7% gross is high.

do many cafes, restaruants or fish and chip shops close down? yes.
do they pass on the cost of upgrades and inspections? yes
do poor people (the ones who tend to get drawn to cheaper insulated houses) go out to cafes, or restaraunts? no. And they tend towards cheaper fish and chip shops, which have quite high gross margin and rely on high turnover - not a single customer.

If the tenants _really_ want these things, why are they not offering to pay for it?
If I go to a cafe or restaruant or fush'n'chup shop and I want extras then do I not have to pay extra?
It only costs a few cents to fry a fish fillet, slap it in a bun and throw on a few cheap greens, the chips come in packet and just get tossed in the same oil as the fush, hardly expensive...yet what do I pay? $4? for 50c of materials? or perhaps $15-18 in a cafe or restaruant. that's gross margin of 800 to 3600% instead of 7%. Just how much do you think residental tenants have to spend?

They willing to pay 25% gross margin or better (per a) then sure what you like sir or madam, and would you like a booth or somewhere that would make madams dress the envy of the other diners?

Another warped economic perspective from the libertarian realm? Tenants are paying for a well-maintained and healthy home. It's called rent and most pay a substantial percentage of their income for r the privilege. Whether you decide to pass on business costs and risk losing good established customers is up to you. We didn't increase charges in our restaurant for five years despite substantial increases in costs. Likewise, if we have good tenants, we would rather they stay and incentivise this by not hiking the rent every time a landlord cost increases. Incidentally, most interest rates (the major regular outgoing cost for property investors) have dropped considerably. Have landlords been offering to pass on these savings to their tenants or are they too busy bleating about the government finally requiring a decent standard of insulation?

No. Tenants are paying for what is shown and described to them. What portion of their income is their personal business and none of mine. I set the value based on market prices, cost recovery, opportunity, risk, and what I feel the product is worth.

The payment of rent comes from my revenue. Not from their rent/income. So there is no reason to drop prices, just as when there are increases to costs, my favourably thin margin (which I bet is a WHOLE lot lower than your restaruant) means I have to put prices up.

And I'm not libertarian, not even close. Lock everything up and tax so everything is "fair" and everyone gets the same unaffordable options, that are tightly monitored just in case someone doesn't do whats on the approved at this income level list. hell no.
Not lasse faire/open market either, not magic solutions from the market fairy for this cowboy.

No Proletariat of socialist slavery, I work on a deeply mystical process known as "fair trade". I provide what the customer asks for, they pay me to provide it. I don't lie, cheat or play games; and so "I do the job, I get paid". simple browncoat rules :)
they want insulation, I have no problem with that, I've even show them the quote.
had tenants that even wanted a garage, but suddenly didn't want it anymore when the quote would cost them 40% more rent over 15 years.
that's the power of fair trade. I ain't your Mum, and I don't look good in a fairy godmother tutu, so you got to be a growed up about what you want and can expect.

And it's not the landlords that are bleating... it will be the tenants when the bills come in.
Especially since insulation makes a house _colder_ not warmer - if they have moisture or low heating, the insulation will slow the heat coming in from outside. Making the house colder, as over 10 hours of night under 14degree C the insulation will still let all the heat out to 5 o'clock temp.

To get a warmer, drier house, they need moisture removal, air flow, and some form of passive or active heating. once the water doesn't absorb the all the free energy, then the heating can begin. the insulating just stops the temperature _differential_ making the heat escape quickly. It just _slows_ the energy transfer, so a little energy heats faster and holds for a few hours longer, but no use if you have to heat all the water in the air and furnishings, the absorption releases little heat, and tends to absorbed by the furnishing.

And look all that teaching at no charge, aren't you a spoiled little socialist. bet you're not even grateful. tenants seldom are. that's probably why socialists like you think they can't take responsibiltiy for themselves and need clever landlords to look after their needs for free/cheap.

Not sure the "spoilt little socialist" was a constructive contribution but never mind. Conservatives modus operandi (which works, sadly too well) is too personally attack their opponents when flawed logic rationalising unfairness in a system designed by them to benefit them is challenged.

As you should know by now, we own properties and a small business so are not detached from these realities. The argument of the right vociferously opposing social obligations that do not have a major impact on their ability to accumulate wealth is tiresome propaganda that needs to be challenged.

Most civilised societies recognise that the provision of food, shelter and water is not to be left entirely to market forces as this results in terrible suffering. Therefore, governments and private landlords have an obligation or duty of care beyond the mere 'service provision in an open-market dictum' to consider the wellbeing of people living on their property or in their state.

P.S. Take it from what you said above about believing in a fair tax system that you would fully support retrospective capital gains tax on all property sold at a profit without any exceptions or is that another unfair burden that elderly paying tax on their measly bank term deposits should continue to cross-subsidise land owners for?

it was a reply to the accusation of being a liberalist/libertarian

I don't see what a capital gain tax would achieve beyond crippling people more. we need that money out in private hands being risked and used efficiently, not stuffed around in more government messups and curved monitors and foyers.

And there is nothing wrong with accumulating wealth, it is a social good. taking it way from those who have fairly earned or given it through ownership , is not a social good, it is known as "stealing" or "theft", and theft is pretty much The Crime. murder? it's stealing a persons future, and comfort and support from their loved ones. treason it steal away the country or Crowns sovereign ability to prosper and protect their nation. assault, theft of health and safety.

the point you seem to miss is that we have no "social obligation". Well you can have one if you want. But be well assured I do not.

Most civil societies to many things wrong. for many it is ok for the wealthy to mistreat the poor if they can. it is ok for them to steal or kill people they're supposed to keep protect. it is ok to take freedoms or learning if they want to. to violate privacy and make their victim pay for the cost of that violation. to lie and misinform. Thus any sentient or reasoning being can quickly and thoroughly deduct that those "civilised socities" have no truth or example to follow - in fact any deeper examine will reveal power structures and system designed to place the wealthy at the top and keep them and their families there, and let others fight it out, playing side against side to maintain their postion. Are those truly what you seek to emulate, that mistakes that human makes empire after collapsed empire?

So no governments and private landlords have no such care. and your assertion does not change that for others - again, in fact, if your draw your examples from the corrupt and decaying civilisations you indicated I would there is strong proof that we MUST NOT assign private landlords this penalty.

I would say it is clear proof proof that we must never give such power to government, nor destroy private landlords in such a manner...which makes sense if the landlords are not to pass more and more costs onto their consumers.
Have you noticed people complaining about rising costs. That is from those government processes similar to what you're endorsing. yes the quality lifts, on paper; suppliers take alternatives to keep prices down, but prices contunally get pushed up by the loss to taxes and overheads, the more government add ons systems like those you support the higher the prices. It is the poor, the farmer, and the landlord that suffers, price setters just pass on the cost to those who can't pass costs every time. Because government has no income or added value of its own to pay for things so they money must be borrowed or come from private sector - it could come from government but then they have to pay themselves + tax, so you just can't tax a country into wealth. ever.

What must be done is the responsibility passed to the consumer. what do they want, what can they afford to pay for. we cannot give them more than they can afford to pay for, as it will make them poor and unable to invest in themselves.

Thus it is up to the government to balance this. how much can the poor afford to pay, are the people making conscientious purchasing decisions, are they holding their suppliers to providing services at reasonable cost. considering the yield for most home rentals in New Zealand is _gross_ 1.5 - 7%, pa and probably about half-two thirds that net of rates, body corp, insurance, agent fees, lawns. I think the landlords have done excellently keeping prices down. Does your restaurant operate on a gross margin of 7%? do your prices go up and down with your mortgage/leverage?

Thus my comment that indeed our government may have to pull the reins,as the consumers are not willing to meet the price increase, nor demand the (more expensive) extra services. But I'm sure it's the renters you'll hear screeching when the bill arrives... especially if government tells them that insulation will make the house warmer, when it is tester and makes them colder, unless consumer paid heating is still provided.

Oh yes I believe a fair tax system. 10% max cap for personal income. 10% business/companies. regardless of country or origin, 10% on foreign company payments going offshore (although banks might have to be exempt on base loans and bonds). 10% large assets or services done as revenue trade. 10% on net profit from investment or non-primary home sales, and primary homes with under 2 years occupancy, (exc under written proof - job change, estate settlement, legimate divorce, death of spouse, earthquake etc). no tax on unrealised gains, or 10% on profit as 10year rolling average, after 10years.
Possibly straight head tax, as each of us has 24hours a day and are counted by government resources, 1% median income would probably do. Without the fat, many government services could be quite streamlined.

however the things you describe aren't a fair system.
and why shoudl elderly continue to draw profit from a system they had ample years to invest wisely in, yet have left massive debt and degradation, yet have not wisely saved, a poor selection of morale hazard choice, and hmm do they not _receive_ taxes money drawn from the working community, a community that need save for it's own retirement, on top of servicing the legacy debt left by those older generations. Did you know some of them talk of having two or even three paying jobs!! without a student debt, well certain less than $20,000 student debt. yet many young people today struggle to get one paying job, especially when the choices tend to pay poorly outside auckland.

No there is no fairness in your plan, only folly at the expense of everyone. The same follies governments and societies have made time and time again.

Enjoy the debate and discussion.

So interesting to read the diversity of opinion on 'fairness'. I pay the top tax-rate but do so on the understanding that my social contract with the government is that they will help others and myself when in need.

I'm not really proposing any changes but, as energy allows, attempt to challenge the dominant ideology that we live in a meritocracy where we all get what we deserve i.e. the poor were too lazy or stupid to achieve and the rich, simply by achieving wealth (or, more often, inheriting the material and societal benefits of their family's social status) are virtuous. I've met many hard-working, honest, intelligent poor as well some extremely unintelligent wealthy people.

Just wish people would stop demonising tenants and the poor and take a moment to reflect on their own good fortune that has allowed them to be successful. We give too much credit for 'success' and apportion too much blame for 'failure'. It is neither wholly the State's responsibility for every aspect of an individual's wellbeing but neither does the burden completely rest on that individual.

Surely, living in a civilised society means we all accept some social obligations beyond our own enrichment? Otherwise, why don't those who don't accept this form a 'Lord of The Flies' society and see how much they enjoy the true free-market? This doesn't appeal to many as there would be no Police to protect property rights and the physically strong may dominate the previously powerful rich.

When I was in need the government said no way, then "not in our written stuff" so get on the street and work it out yourself. We don't care you can't stand for more than 10minutes or are suffering from extreme mental exhaustion, our pieces of paper say you get a 3 month standdown, get out or we call the police.

Their contract said I had to pay IRD 8000 + 1000 PAYE, I made $3000. (three thousand dollars) that year. I said the agreement is $10/week for under 17000, give me back my 8000 in the annual square up, since my income says you aren't entitled to 8000. they said, not in our written letters, we're keeping your money.
and they changed the letters written to make sure no-one can get their money back.

your "social contract" is a lie.
I don't have one, and never signed one.
contract requires informed consent, consent cannot be implied and certainly not imposed by the other party (check your rape case philosophies for all the detail), and certainly not implied or constructed for "informed" consent.
thus social contract is a lie, in result, and in theory.
Who are you trying to rip, or who are you being ripped off that you have accept the belief of that falsehood.

re: the rest - you got too much privileged helps up their mate. Many of the rest of us had to fight tooth and nail to scratch out what we have, and to retain what has been gifted to us. Don't bother trying to shove your soft living privileged position onto others, they've been through too much to buy into it. I hope for your sake, you never have to find out the harder realities of the not so blessed. the government, that nanny state you love so much, is not your friend; and it will gut your entire family and put you on the street, without a moment's back thought.
Perhaps a few hours in the smoko room of Courts Collections listening to them swap suicide threat stories might help wake you up a bit. I understand the IRD auditors also tend to need to be a pretty special type of dogmatic person as well.

No police to protect property rights? ... why do they need protecting? from whom? has violation of property rights gone down with police (hmm no, records show a constant rise)? When my ex moved out and a 9am visit to get her stuff was arranged did the police person protect my right to be there, no he helped enter the building and remove property before I arrived (they got there 20 minute early, before I got home from work. my ex I trusted but said her crazy liar friend was not to step on to the property. she was in the house grabbing stuff when I got there. Did the policeman remove her when I ask him to get the trespasser off the property? No he said "I left my paperwork for that at the office". They did not know that I expected them to enter earlier, and had placed motion capture webcams in all public and bedrooms (expect to catch said friend snooping or stealing).
Or when the powertools when I was doing building work were stolen from my storage shed. The police pursued this crime relentlessly..naw...I filed the complaint and they just gave me a receipt for filing.

So more about social contract and the lie that it is.

A wise person has once said "No-one owes you the truth".
You state about the police giving property protection, clearly a lie to anyone who's been personally involved with the police, so either you are falsely testifying about something you have no experience about, or you're lying.
...oooh what about when one of your tenants is "suspected" of having a drug ever _seen_ the results of a hard search?? They found nothing as it was a revenge tip off against the tenant but the police didn't have to pay for the damage as it "was a legitimate suspicion and valid search". Not my personal story, but if you check the law thats the deal.
in passing ...also so glad police are preventing P protect my property.... yeah right.
It's kpi.

So back to social contract. clearly you don't see the need for truth from your part in "social contract" why do you expect it of others? Yet I give it, to the utmost of my abillity. Why is that?
Is it because you're somehow _entitled_ to that truth from me? from the wise man, and your own truthlessness, clearly not. It's because I don't have a social contract. I own my truth. and *I* choose to give it, because that's the person *I* choose to be. In assigning that "good?" value to contract, you are actually robbing from me (that I do so as an individually created good person) and asssigning it to some external contract...a contract that you aren't even honouring...and you're saying I'm only _acting_ good because your contract says I must (and probably because I expect something in return).... what have I asked for in return? what have you given me apart from lies?

Lets drop back to the police for a moment. Are you aware that police may not lie in court. that they have written direction that they may not lie to superiors unless directed to by more senior ranked staff And that they have written instruction that it is perfectly acceptable (not just excusable, acceptable) to lie to and mislead members of public or suspects whenever they want.
Do I find it amusing that your personal security/safety issues directed you to specific choose one organisation which places itself above any hint of social contract, to defend your belief in that phony contract?
hell yes. And also indicative of just how false it is. That you would choose authoritarian monopoly of violence (used picked by liberals and their "biggest private army angle") owned by the State to defend what is supposed to be a _social_mutual_ agreement that would if true actually make such an organisation redundant !!!

So what are the police.
what where they?
Started in Queenstown and Wellington they needed a way to stop the violence and child prostitution that was becoming embarrassing and expensive. (Some social contract in that civilised society...) Especially when labourers had been drinking.
The central government didn't train people or have resources they wanted to part with so what they did was send an official to the troublespots and find the biggest and nastiest repeat offender and offered him shilling it he Enforced a few laws, and he'd also get the right to arrest and detain, if someone resisted his authority or attacked him. Yep, that's what they did, paid and empowered the biggest bully, so he'd throw his weight around...and everyone else learnt to keep out of his way.
Payment of an extra shilling was a considerable amount to do what they were already doing. And $70k plus today is a considerable sum to do no-questions asked, do what we tell you blue gang.

Or why the need for Courts. I've stood in Family Court, represented myself, and charges withdrawn. You know what struck me about your civil justice, your social contract in action? That a week of salaries of those in front of the public wall, was probably in excess of those -annual- earnings of those in the public area. That is the reality of your civilised society. (yes, I had a fool for a client)

So no, a civilised society does not accept social obligations. Neither is there any social contract, as many of those involved on either side would have quickly cheated or within the limits they could get away with done violence to a colleague (in the richer side they do so with contract and affadavit, for personal fear of retribution and because it's way more profitable...just check your solictors bill for evidence). In fact there was more "social civilisation" in the waiting room, than in the Court; as the honesty of violence and absence of contracts and law meant personal responsibility for ones actions were immediate and unavoidable - inside the Court, one could always claim legal rights or protocols to excuse away injustices...just as the goverment organisations did to me, and us, continually. How many of NZ really agree to the provisions in the TPPA and TISA? but "law" says they dont have to be honest with us, yet if social contract existed they would have to do so, or stop when we say no way.

So social contract is a lie. contract simply exists as you your identified in your closing remarks, that they (contracts) are backed by violence so that the weak may abuse others in stronger positions. Just as the lawyers would use their contracts to take from others...if they had strength or right they would not need such contracts.
so who sold you a fake [social] contract? Who are the weak people trying to take advantage?

I have no social contract.

How do I find civilisation?
I go to Freemasons. The brothers I have there recognise there is no social contract except that which they value themselves. So they take it upon themselves to be as virtuous as possible. Not for social obligation, but out of obligation to themselves, and also as an oath to whatever superior power they recognise in the universe. This is what had allow them to be a force to be recognised in the past, as every brother could rely on another, not from social obligation, or from costly legal force, or violence, but because he could trust his brother would also be seeking to a virtuous person.
The best way to be virtuous, is to be around virtuous people and to deal with them whenever possible over empowering those who seek cunning.
And Freemasons do charity and sponsorship work but they do it from themselves for a better society not out of any obligation (demanded or implied) and with honesty they don't do it _for_ themselves either (although true charity does start at home) nor do they do it for publicity (to their detriment).
In a society without social contract, relying on pursuit of personal virtue, I find no brother poor, no brother cheating, and many hands willing to help, and none who seek to deceive me.

I wish you well Proletariat in joining Diogenes to find people so honest in your civilised and/or social contracted societies.

Hmmm. Was it Einstein who was quoted as saying something along the lines of 'the definition of insanity is trying the same thing again and again and expecting a different result?' The debate about a measure of landlord obligation to provide safe and healthy housing seems to have been lost altogether. I feel it is our responsibility and you seem to think otherwise. Thankfully we have a government who, reluctantly and at a pedestrian pace, seems to feel otherwise.

In terms of CGT it seem pretty clear to me there is a distortion going on. So "investors" are accepting that they will get a poor income from an asset like a farm or housing (I assume payng little business tax as a result, or even making a "loss" and getting tax back!) with the hope that there is a bigger fool that can afford to pay an even higher inflated price on selling/retirement and get it tax free.

On top of that and most importantly, all real profit should be taxed at point of realisation IMHO.

The last but one para "why should elderly continue to draw profit from a system they had ample years to invest wisely in, yet have left massive debt and degradation" I agree with wholeheartedly.

No. Precisely it's a "if you don't want to insulate a house that you'll use to make profit with, get out of the market"

We are talking about regulations here. Ensuring health and safety. It applies to food, jobs, etc. Why shouldn't it apply to accommodation?

because all services and businesses exist to provide services to the customer at a profit.

In this case customers are often willing to take a cheaper option rather than more expensive and/or inconvenient alternatives. to the customer, it is a lower requirement.

H&S also applies to the employee, ie the employee has a duty to act safely. Ergo the renter has a duty to heat the home to stay warm. The landlord has a duty to keep the house to its as it was built standard.

I guess you'd be okay with car rental companies renting cars out without brakes.
If you think renting out substandard housing is okay then I suggest that you should charge only half the going rate, no-one owes you anything

how do you equate brakes with insulation?

brakes and roof maybe, but insulation? No, your comparison is inequitable thus everything you say or deduce must be dismissed on the evidence of your clear inability to measure correctly.

Those who rent out uninsulated places _are_ at half rate.
It's the renters who make the decision whether it is worth them renting, after all it IS the renters who get the choice to accept the contract.

they are perfectly welcome to refuse or seek written amendments. no point taking it as, is then moaning about it (if there is no misrepresentation).

Fair enough then, I guess cars have always been required to have brakes, I maybe should have said seat belts

Seat belts - much better analogy :-).

No, heaters were not always in cars and are really no a safety item. Again what is stopping a renter going and getting a car with either? I certianly would.

I would have said airconditioning/heater, but seat belts work.

Airconditioning isn't a necessity but it some cars like my old Toyota Grande the thermal gain was so intense that it was a sauna after 10 minutes driving without air conditioning.

Or perhaps a better analogy is seats.... I have seen one can get by with an old beer crate, real Kiwi style.
But sometimes just getting by isn't enough, and even I draw the line at going Full Redneck...

seatbelts are emergency stuff, but seats..yeah, you just really expect it to be there... like insulation should be.

If a tenant/landlord market exists, where the tenant becomes ill due to the nature of the house the landlord supplies, and society bears the cost for the healing of the sick tenant, then it is the landlord who is taking something which he is not entitled to.
He is gaining money (rent) at the expense of society (who pays for the cost of the sick person through healthcare).
The sad truth is - and you know this - that insulated houses as rentals are hard to come by, because it's not legislated (yet).
People who can't afford to buy, often have no choice.
Privatise the gain, socialise the cost.
This is the true parasitic behaviour. The taking of that which is not owed to you.

Only if the landlord has failed duty-of-care or tort. Was the landlord operating the house or PREVENTING heating? no. Did the landlord promise heating and it wasn't provided? no. Was the tenant explicitly expecting insulation? apparently in most cases no.

with the law saying there needs to be insulation then the landlord is tort if not providing what is required. But it opens up a bigger problem, if the tenant hurts themselves leaping off furniture, then by the same tort the landlord is responsible for not putting in thicker carpets so tenant can't hurt themselves on the floor. If the tenant slips on a smooth but clean and secure surface under tort law, the landlord is liable for not having non-slip surfaces throughout.
Just how safe and who pays for all that tort prevention?

Suggest you brush up your knowledge of tort law, a tenant leaping off furniture and hurting themselves as you describe is way outside of what would be considered "reasonable" for a landlord to expect to have to mitigate;

"...Something which a reasonable man, guided upon those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do; or doing something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do." (Blyth v Birmingham Waterworks Co (1856)

ah but he would not be hurt on a normal soft furnished floor, and leaping around and tomfoolery in your own domocile is perfectly normal behaviour (banging your head on the floor deliberately...not so much).

since the terms of rental tend to be "enjoyment as if they were the owner" and "return in same condition, accepting normal wear" then "leaping around and off furniture" is enjoyment of own property.

The difference between duty-of-care common law, says i have duty of care to give a house safe for living in. you have duty of care not to hurt yourself.

Wheres torts from roman law, which is what the government "all landlords need to provide suitable insulation for use" comes from says things like, if I steal your car and I don't have my license, then you as the license car owner are at fault, for letting me get to your keys and use your property dangerously. Thus the fault is the provider of services, not the duty-of-care or the actor. If I invite you to my house and you trip and fall, under tort it is my fault for having unsafe path (even if it was servicable) , not because you didn't look where you were going. The "unreasonable act" would be if you fell because you were totally drunk or blindfolded, unpredicted attributing actions (that I must have no part in!), that I can't foresee. The difference with torts, is it allows the courts to blame anyone they want, on actions they feel "should" have been taken - rather than worry about what anyone -was- doing and why.
Again, if you shoot a person with my rifle, it is my fault (firearms charges), not yours, as the actor you are unlicensed but the court can say I'm at fault for not securing the weapon well enough (even though I tried and might have thought it secure).
It also used to be things like if you had a car that rego was 1 day expired, and someone runs into it, even if it was parked. It would be your fault as the car shouldn't have been there, not their failure to stop or duty to drive safely.

NZ have been improving away from tort-style laws, to more forensic duty-of-care and equitable contract, which is concerns me that smoke detectors and insulation might be the thin end of the wedge for return back to tort style foolishness.

and that's exactly why common law still exists, to prevent the perverse application of poorly drafted legislation.
If you seriously believe you are potentially exposed to liability for a situation such as you describe you should probably get a new lawyer!
Your examples of the ridiculousness of application are valid though, I do detest the Americanisation of legal systems into a sue-you state.

sadly NZ law has inherited that tort system in it's common law from the UK. I understand the US is worse. weird thing is it's places like South Africa which are (theoretically) more towards actor and duty-of-care.

One example I read sourced it from banging ones head on a hanging sword, it was the sword owners fault, to the person banging their head. Which like a lot of the anthropological justice systems makes you wonder what the rest of the story is? (eg who banged their head)

the problem with getting a lawyer, is they _work_ for the courts, so using them to sue/complain about the law or law process is pointless. that's what ministers (and ombudsmen) are for but they can only see laws are followed, and ballot for hopeful eventual change.

Of course, no one is holding a gun at your head forcing you to live in an uninsulated house- you can vote with your feet and move to somewhere with insulation- or perhaps talk to your landlord about it and see if they will put insulation in- they may increase your rent but you are obviously capable of paying a little bit more for a warmer place to live but its cheaper than buying one yourself

I think you misunderstand.

If an insulated and non-insulates house are the same price, then the insulated house will be a better purchase, and the rental of the insulated house (if same distance to amenities and workplace are equal) if it is the same.

however. It costs more, much more in cases of retro-fitting, to provide an insulated house.
and there is more market benefits to allow upselling of price on an insulated house.

therefore it is the _consumers_ choice.

Do they wish to pay more for the insulated version?
or do they want it cheap?

why did you not pay $600 and ask the landlord to insulate?
or move to a more expensive insulated place (and let market demand dictate that insulation was required)
... it *is __your__ choice.

and yes it's like selling tobacco that is dangerous for health... or driving...or adverts.

If you want to rent an unsafe car I will happily provide it to you.

What I _won't_ do, which _is_ worth making illegal, is misrepresenting what I'm selling you. Other than that it's up to your enlightened self interest and your choices on how _you_ want to balance your needs vs resources.

Do we need legislation to enforce insulation?
IMO, yes. because the power in the market tends towards repression (easier for ALL landlords not to do, as entry price for competition vs demand pushes the system hard in favour of benefit of not improving).
But doesn't this mean tenants pay more? Yes my poor sad Kiwi who wants everything for nothing. the tenants will end up paying for the benefits but they will reap the benefits.

For me personally this will be challenge, as I have one property that is an ex-state house so doesn't have property underfloor access, it will be a personal challenge to either make a floor hole big enough, or squeeze through the tiny gap someone else made in one wardrobe, in order to fit underfloor insulation.
In another property it is "cavity brick" foundation with a wood floor. In this case it will probably be more effective to fit a new floating floor, and insulate the gap. Likewise the ceiling, if not done, it is likely to require removing sections of external material to do the job quickly.
In both of these brick single level dwellings I may have to wait for improved wall linings to be invented, as to reduce "cool-side" loss without losing too much room space. and double glazing is more important than insulating most walls.
And as always education on, airing and dehumidifiers (turns out my inverter units have a cyclic setting to act as dehumidifiers automatically).

Also tenants should be able to insist on functional bathroom/shower fans )WITH delayed timers - mine runs from a ceiling hotpoint. plug, timer, ceiling fan) easily accessible in the ceiling. Any fault it's easy to test components and fix. My router and switch is also in ceiling as it's not needed in the house. All easily accessed from ceiling access panel. In laundry/shower the fan switch is right under the light, and the fan "runs-on" for 5 mins after the switch is off. Much cheaper than using dehumidifier. All properties also have rangehoods for same reason, although whomever installed the one on my house did a terrible job as the rain comes down into the unit! I hope to pass it through a rectangular pipe out the soffit but I'll probably have to have it made up as customer design.

But insulation? yes. customer pays for it? as always.

my tenant just sent me the new law in case i had not seen it (thanks) what i didn't tell them was currently they are renting a property that is giving me less than 2.7% cash flow yield on the value of the property (lucky them) ...well if you think i am not going to pass on these costs then we must all be living in some Labourland Utopia...

They probably sent it because they are freezing tonight even with the heater on. But you care about your yield ....

This works both ways, so you are saying a private individual cant make a living? So the tenant is nice and warm but the landlord starves? 2.7% is abysmal for the risk involved, it should be treble that if not x 4 ie 10% per annum.

effectively this is a government subsidy to private holders to provide social housing and take on the risk.
they have in the past allowed you to offset against your taxable income so that you could charge less.
and GC was the encouragement to take up the challenge.
now they are changing the rules expect investors start to increase rents to cover their costs and get a fair ROR the only thing that will keep this in check is market forces supply and ability of the tenants to pay the increase.
the government will then have to move the subsidy to the tenants in the form of increased accommodation supplements.
either way tax payers all end up paying towards housing of our people

Are you really trying to claim that Landlords are not charging the utmost upper limit because of tax? what rubbish IMHO.

Yes, the line of starving landlords at the food banks is a humanitarian crisis but the liberal media refuse to report on it. If it's so tough being a landlord, why not sell and make a large tax-free capital gain for doing nothing economically productive at all?

while it happens occasional, normally if you have any property you're turned away.

If it's so great why don't tenants do it?

Surely that yield is based on a revaluation of the property since you purchased? Otherwise, that was a very dumb purchase.

no, that's normal. what do you think the margin is in residental housing (for non boomers)

It cannot be the norm - I really don't think that many people could be that dumb. What do I think the yield should be? Much the same as a bank would expect in providing funding - minimum 6% yield on a 20% LVR. Anything less - and we have an awful lot of liar loans out there, I'd imagine.

You do the math, $1.5 million dollar property, $900-1000 weekly rent minus rates, insurance, repairs (and soon insulation!) that's under 3% and this is your standard 4 bedroom central city Auckland villa - under 3% is the norm - if i wasn't so DUMB why wouldn't i just sell my house and throw my tenants out and give it to a nice wealthy family to live in?

You'd be mad not to sell - especially now, right now. Ring a RE agent tomorrow. You can't act too quickly on this.

then where will i live in a few years time when i come back from overseas? Huntly?


Buy similar or better - but much, much cheaper.

of course i think where would i rather live? in an inner city suburb that i can cycle to CBD in 10 minutes or walk to Dido's in Herne Bay in 5 minutes, or should i sell and buy better and cheaper, but where exactly?

that would require selling at market peak, but market peak isn't even close yet is it. The bubble burst brigade have being singing that Aucklands been at peak for what, 10, 20, 30 years now? since it requires to pick his investment vehicle before he exits, hard to find a cheaper point in a bull run.

If there is no change from current conditions (altho this is highly unlikely) - rent! Let someone else risk their capital for a 3% or less return on an illiquid asset.

but the rent is neglible, compared to the capital gain from foreign money. since the foreign buyers and the foreign money aren't going away soon, why cash out?

Personal I'd take the money, but I don't know their sentimentality to the property, or what career option they have.

Your right, i could take an easy mil now and invest that in Papamoa x5....see how that works out after 5 years on 4.99%!

why what are they going to do with the money?

the RE agent will cost them 4 - 7%
holding a year nets is likely to net them another 10-15% in auckland.
No point selling until they find somewhere cheaper with more potential, with good location. Or until it looks like the wheels are about to come off the market.

Until they line up an idea of their next investment better to just hold. And if they want to invest, using their current asset value as security, on a fixed term 4.99%, that's pretty cheap financing - if they can handle the risk factor....

wheels are about to come off the market.

Chinas doing a pump'n'dump, that should put more hot money off shore as soon as the storm blows by, all those shorting profits got to go somewhere.

The shorts got badly squeezed today

i bet. bit of scratch left in that cat yet.

most places barely gross 6% on market value. 4 more common. Generally don't expect to even see a positve cashflow on less than 50% LVR.
That's what it costs to get into the market.

the old rule of thumb of 0.1% p.w. of property value per annum gross, works out 5.2% p.a. That'll barely give 6% gross at 20% LVR.

Throw in rates, insurance, body corporate and we're well below 6% and those are all external compulsories (bank contracts require insurance).

In larger centers a 10% capital value rise reduces yield % unless rents track at same rate. Same can happen for houses brought cheaply (bad house) in hot spot areas (better street).

The 20% LVR only really affects FHB. People who already have property or similar securities can use that to offset the LVR requirements. So like now for me, I'm about 25% leveraged, I could buy several 20% LVR properties with no cash and interest only, if I felt I wanted the risk exposure.
However palmy is offering 4 - 6%, and other places either lower yield or much higher risk.

you must be in cloud cuckoo if you think central city Auckland villas get 6% yield...that would be in the range of $2000 a week rental (wouldn't that be nice) - right now a decent $2.5 million Herne bay house is for rent at $1380 a week on Trademe...way under 3% yield (must be another dummy like me)

can you imagine the prices if they could get that rent !

Heck, lock in that mortgage ASAP, and watch the CG really fly.

Trademe stuff is insanely expensive. check out agents own sites - or some of the links off the "Property" tab on the left of the blue menu bar near the top of this web page.

You rest my case.

So this suggests lots of ppl are there for the tax free capital gain, it cant be the income there is none.

Make sure you pass a copy of the quotes and loan brief inc interest, when you sent them their rent increase notice.
I use a 5yr recovery plan, ie 20% of WrittenDownValue per annum. only discount myself the actual tax recovered by depreciation, and make sure any interest cost is passed on.
I've found in that 5 year period it tends to even up with rates and insurance increases, which get linked to the increase in capital value.

Getting the 3% yield on the improvements isn't a big lift in weekly rate, practically a rounding off amount. So as long as they cover the full upgrade cost, the more they want the better for everyone. And if you send them the real quotes they can't complain about being ripped off, after all, it IS the Law, and you are entitled, expected even, to recover your direct costs.

It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall when the tenant reads that one. This is what many renters dont or want to get (mind you I think some are too stupid). they seem to think that landlords are rich bastards (some are I accept) ripping them off and should put in insulation for free. When I point out that all they need to do is move to a newer, insulated house they whine about the higher rent, apart from hello you save on power what do you expect charity? That is why we have Housing NZ.

I think that's exactly why we end up with them in cheaper houses doing the kiwi whine, and landlords finding no return in insulating.

thus likely the _only_ effective measure is direct intervention. Then the tenants end up paying a bit more but at least they get forced into a step better quality housing, and the landlords get forced to put it into insulation. just hope Smith realises the rule about insulation... no points making big gaps in your law if you want it snug and warm...

No, If we take the car analogy its a case of renting a 100kmh car for $50 or a 150kmh car for $80, neither is unsafe unless its driven that way it is your choice how fast you want to go.

So why dont you move? select a house with insulation and a heat pump.

No WOF but the regulation can be amended to advance over time to a WOF all but in name.
Then the landlord will ultimately be prevented from renting at all.
Insulating becomes a no brainer as it will affect any prospective sale

If the landlord can't rent then that just degrades the market.

Putting in a WOF, first off increases compliance costs (pass to renters, for no gain, especially for good landlords) and adds layers of stress and complication.

AND worse it creates a WoF driven precedent for any SIG to push the WOF higher, to include extras. Such occurrences have only ever helped corporation and governmental people and never helped the individual people - have only ever served the rich in the end and not the majority.
It also moves the nanny state yet another step towards totalitarian governance.

That way lies the direction of many of the things our literature today speaks poorly of; far more dystopian community rather than the benefits of an orderly society as promised by the glossy brochure. Far more "Brazil", and "1984" than Pleasantville.

it will be interesting to see what the standard is for the insulating, there will some cowboys out their offering their services for a cheap and nasty job

The spec is 1978 standards and to get the grant it has to be done by an approved contractor I believe.

many of the cowboys put the money into the building or materials. It's the big corporates that you've got to watch out for - like the Trump empire, they get "Dispensation" and influence to offer poor products on a grand scale, and because they know it doesn't matter if a few places aren't let-able because it's too expensive to upgrade the empire.
Us cowboys might do things on the cheap but if it don't cost too much more we'll want stuff that ain't a hassle and ain't gunna fall down.

Bernard could you please post details of what Dr Nick deems as impractical to insulate.

Clearly if ground clearance is under 400mm, I would consider it unsafe to insulate subfloor.

Of course if they want to provide the Pigmys to do the job they are welcome to do so.

I would have to say that 80% of timber floored houses have no subfloor insulation in places on flat terrain.

And I sure as hell am not paying for useless subfloor insulation anytime before 2019.

Interesting that those carping on about how great this is, don't even understand the problem like Duncan Garner, talking about concrete floor houses being not able to insulated! Concrete floor houses don't need insulated in NZ. The ones that can't be insulated are timber floor houses without adequate crawl space.

Devil in the detail, plus there is hardly any losses to underfloor. There is I think also a performance option so if its (say) 75mm in the ceiling and 25mm in the floor then 100mm in the ceiling instead will save the same amount of energy. There is also the second loss, air change rate and that isnt mentioned.

What a few builders recommend is running out polythene (black plastic sheet) over the dirt. Still have to keep vents clear, and make sure of no flooding issues. But this reduces the amount of moisture from the ground that gets absorbed into the floor timber, and ventilation holes are more effective on the plastic as it has less absorbtion and transmission content compared to bare earth.

If a concrete pad floor has no insulation (modern ones are supposed to have polystyrene and polythene moisture barriers, but I note my laundry here does not). Then the question is what is the stud height. Just run a floating floor, insulate that.

I'm hoping to test some alkathene pipe for temperate water, to run between underfloor insulation and floor in my new place but getting the old boomer mistakes up to spec first is taking time and money.
Idea being to use old hotware cylinders and solar energy (H/W, or PV) to put water around 30 degree along hallways and edges of rooms, just for couple of hours in the morning to help lift overall temperature and aid in lifting moisture from hidden spots into the catchment area of the heat pump inverters. I think a simple 80/20 approach, considering I've already got outer envelop insulated, and double glase, it shouldn't take much to bring the whole house up. Also thinking of thermal N/W mass when I have to redo the boomers flat leaky roof (knock that whole N corner out and design for hot/cold energy design)

Good landlords already insulate their properties so won't have much affect on some.

Pop quiz- how many people living in their own homes have no insulation? Why dos it not apply to them too?

A very good Q, I assume because they earn more so can afford to waste electricity in heating their home. PS I dont have fully insulated house but it meets this standard.

Because they're busy paying down the mortgage as fast as possible and they do the insulation as they can afford it. Usually it take 5 - 7 years to get dent made in mortgage and then work or life changes and they're due to move on, and the cycle repeats for them and their purchaser.

Homeowners should be able to give insulation receipts to IRD and claim current interest level (4.99%- 6%) off their taxes for that year, upon completely deductible deductible building inspection.
But really, how serious is government about helping people, and how much is just getting more control?

Not just paying the mortgage down quick, but also realising that some houses are not worth spending any money on to insulate.

Our tenants have our modern (2000/2001) over insulated house, yet fail to open windows to air the house out, its orientated to get all day sun, their power bills are a couple a hundred a month....when we lived there the highest we had in winter was just on $100, the norm around the $60-80 mark. They took down the smoke alarms as they kept going off due to cooking or low battery indicator - they never replaced the batteries, they never open windows to air the house hence moisture running down windows (in fact they sometimes don't even bother opening the thermal-lined curtains). No amount of me 'nagging' them changes their behaviour - they just don't care.

We on the other hand now live in an old 1930s with 1970s extension house, not orientated for the sun, drafty as windows and doors have dropped with age and rot. There are pink things in the part of the ceiling we can get to, but they do bugger all as previous owners put in a lower ceiling in the living areas but no insulation (you can hear the wind whistle through the gap between ceilings sometimes), the 1970s extension is a skillion ceiling, the only way to get more insulation in there is to rip the roof off - the ceiling insulation on that side is wall batts (which is what the builder of the time must have decided was enough). There is only a foot clearance (if that) underneath the house so no insulation is going there. Our building report indicated that the 1970s extension has come to the end of its life - it was built to a price and that price meant a very short life of 40yrs, the 1930s original part was in better shape - which is not saying much. We fully intend to demolish and rebuild something much smaller and warmer once the mortgage is gone in 4 years. So we sure as hell are not wasting money on insulating (our highest winter power bill so far over 4 years of living here is $106 - we put more clothes on and don't expect to have a 25C temp in a house that can't hold the warmth).

Its just not trendy to ask tenants to be responsible these days, you're the evil landlord and they are downtrodden victims. No matter how lazy and hopeless they are.

Yeah, it was so bad of us having such a nice house for them to rent. I thought of their power bills and their comments on trying to save to buy their own house as they took off for a 3 week holiday to Australia last summer (every theme park in Australia was on their agenda), they have two new cars, a big flatscreen TV, the latest Xbox thingy and games, so many clothes that I wonder when they have time to wear them, and eat out more than we do.....I could go on but you get the picture. Completely different lifestyle and set of priorities to my husband and I who are paying off a mortgage on one income, so our 25yr mortgage will be gone in less than 4yrs we halved our mortgage simply because that was our priority.

I've seen the same MO dozens of times, tenant claims they can't pay their rent but when I go to visit there's a BMW in the drive, jet ski in the garage and top quality furnishings throughout. They then try and tell me they're saving for their own place, at which point I scratch my head, as the value of their toys would be enough for a deposit.

The liberals on here would have you believe that all tenants are held down by their landlords but the truth is that most people remain tenants because they have no financial discipline, are greedy and want to live a life they haven't earned.

Exactly right. And then they blame the landlord for not providing them with a dry house, while they pump water into it from the kitchen the shower and laundry drying in front of the heater.

Yes, of course anyone who doesn't own a house is financially reckless and lazy, unlike the current landed gentry who did it all own their own (without any help from their parents and family connections, a free education and healthcare system).

We were very lucky to be able to scratch together a deposit in 2013 but could never afford the deposit required on the same property now as the value appears to have increased by appproximately 40% since then. If we had our $100,000 deposit but were priced out of having a 20% deposit on decent house in Auckland, would we aslo be labelled lazy and reckless financially? We would be tempted too but a nice car and have a holiday as well to distract me from the cruel reality that, in a capitalist system, capital will always triumph over the rewards for labour (e.g. our properties appear to have increased in value by $400,000 in less than two years but the most we could have ever hoped to haved saved from our salaries is $40,000).

Poor landlords. The 'system' and 'nanny' state is really rigged against you.

Hmmm, we're 'poor landlords'? More like reluctant ones: two houses one property, the tenant in question is my sister, she pays $75 pw....we're just glad to have the modern over-insulated house inhabited while we decide what to do with it. Having tenants in the future is not on our plans - too much hassle.

As for supposedly having all this help you allude to.....please tell me where we got it from? We saved while paying off my husband's student loan, mine gets paid as work allows - I have a PhD yet amazingly no work but part-time is out there, so we'll pay the last $60,000 when we've got the mortgage gone in 4 years. No one gave us help, certainly not my parents when they died both aged 67, instead us kids were lucky not to get a bill, the $2300 we each got covered the exterior paint for the old house we live in - most of my siblings blew it on toys and holidays. We did debate putting it on the debt but thought sealing the exterior roughcast walls was more important to help keep the damp out.

In a nutshell we sacrificed the present to get the future we aimed and planned for (we knew what we wanted, we broke it down to manageable steps and a timeline and we work that plan every day). My sister and her hubby have dreams of the future yet they refuse to sacrifice the present for it. That's the difference in mindsets that means my hubby and I are very close to our dream yet I doubt our tenants (my sister and her hubby) will ever get to theirs.

So that's the point I was making. Our limited experience with tenants is that they are lazy, they refuse to sacrifice the present for the future, and they moan and bitch a lot that the world is against them. They refuse to see they they are their own worst enemies. Not one of my siblings would live in the old house that we are in currently, they wouldn't sacrifice their current state of pleasure for their future. They all ask how we can do it, gee I reply, try a touch of personal discipline, works wonders.

you need to educate yourself better and throw off some of those misconceptions.

Capitalism is the -only- system that recognises that you even have an individual labour value or that you should as an individual have any right to the fruits of your labour or mind or sacrifices.

What is needed that has been lost is a hand on the rudder that stops accumulated capital overcoming the value of individual capital. What is accumulated capital? It is capital held or generated by collectives. The collectives have so much legacy and accumulated capital that everyone is stripped of capital power before them. Some of those collectives become responsibility-free co-operatives, or soulless corporates whose soul function is to feed it's overpaid minions.

Poor landlords yes, because those unable to comprehend what is required will always be blocked by their person greed and ignorance otherwise they would be saying enlightened things like "how do we make rents as cheap as possible for everyone?", "how do we make anyone who wants to be a landlord become one". the nanny state cares not for where it gets its resources or what it destroys in feeding itself. And so everyone suffers because so many will only see petty jealousy and personal envy. why do I not feel guided by their utopia (of everyone being equally poor (except the minions of the state)

most you could have saved from your salaries is 40k? Well I was right about you being the privileged middleclass then. Most folks I know would struggle to save 7k pa with much belt tightening.

If you had $100k of toys sitting roundf, then yes you would be financially reckless if you wanted a house and "couldn't get the deposit".

In a socialist system there are _no_ rewards for labour.
One associate of mine pointed out that if I was moving the socialists would be the first to turn up for tea, bikkie and to give a hand. Well he's wrong, the capitalists felt their time was valuable elsewhere and never showed up. the socialist turned, unsurprisingly without tea or bikkies but were happy to consume mine, but they all had bad backs, bad knee, or had to be visiting someone else and just popped in to see how things were going. Because in the socialist system anyone who is able is stripped of all worth, and force into slavery of their social "peers" (ie the Committee) and are entitled to nothing of the result because further up the socialist (non-heirarchy) ladder they pay themselves and buy off their flunkies with the produce of your labour - if you ask for it back you will be criticise and condemmed as Proletariat just did for those who provide housing to low and middle income families. How dare those landlords expect 6% return to maintain the property and pay their wage.
Ignored is the fact that the capitalist is making $600,000 of equipment available to someone only willing to part with $700 a week, on nothing more than a fair contract (in the capitalist choice the tenant gets to choose which contract to enter into. in socialism, you are allocated your lot, and that's it)

that 1970s thing is same thing I was grumbling about with this place. they used a flat tray for the roof, no rubber liner. previous owner swore that there were no weathertightness issues, but I could tell the flat roof wasn't going to work. But I wasn't expecting 1 litre or more every decent rain event. If they'd told me I could have into before the rain and committing to other things.
Hope things go well for your next 4 years.

We have our plan and we're working it....that's all you can do really in life.

Someone I know said "Success is the lifelong pursuit of a worthwhile goal". sounds good to me.

I've doubled roof insulation in all my rentals in chch... where I can get to... except my house.
I have found underfloor insulation of little value... but installing a vapour barrier, polythene (with taped joins/overlaps) is more effective - stop moisture from ground coming through. It will be annoying if all this work counts for little (had to do it myself - regulations meant I couldn't pay someone).

The single biggest factor with condensation and damp homes is the tenant. There should be a system to license people to live in wooden houses - like a driver's license...

Nick you can stick your smoke alarms. If tenants want them they can buy them for themselves.
I rent out a property, not removable fixtures that tenants just wreck. And it is the tenants that wreck them, and toss them in the back of cupboards or out in gardens (sometimes via a closed window).

If the savings are so great, will the government be paying for the insulation since they are the ones that stand to benefit the most????

See Kumbel, the politicians and government don't believe in Coase's PoV, they just cherry pick whoever sings the song they want to hear and proclaim that the truth.

Dear Nick Smith,

Please ask Housing New Zealand and the Residental Tenancy people to put together a "Home Health" pamphlet.
In it include how to keep your home from being damp (air circulation, dehumidifiers, vacuuming, washing and airing bedclothes, don't dry clothes inside, not storing cloth items on the floor), explain the need for a dehumidifier if they're using a freestanding gas heater, and about the necessity to open the windows as much as possible.

How and where to fit smoke alarms and what to do when they go off (and tell them not to throw them through the windows please).

Include a list of real energy saving tips. Use LED bulbs, don't leave a light on all night/day, open curtains, close doors, remove excess moisture, pull curtains near nighttime, don't leave TV's or computers on, close fridges, don't put more water than necessary in kettles or pots, cover pots and pans when being used, get a special grilling appliance rather than use the oven for grilling.

Remind them that to keep the home healthy to wash the bathroom and toilet ceiling if they get mouldy. That they do actually have to occasionally clean the shower and bath, and wall tiles. And the oven. not only when they're moving out (and then not bothering). A squeegee works well in the shower if moisture is a household problem, posh people use them anyway... That any increase in mould or moisture spots need to be reported immediately, not found 3 months later by the property manager (or by the owner 2 years later when he finds the manager has been slacking).

Insulation alone doesn't improve things. Removing the moisture takes extra steps and real;ly needs to be done on an ongoing basis by the tenant living a properly healthy lifestyle.


PS if I supply my tenants smoke alarms what assurances do I have that they won't be damaged or disabled. which has happened to all (20+) units installed over last 10 years.

Oh please!
The "government" did not force you to become a landlord, it was your choice. Yes, some tenants are bad, make poor choices or are just plain stupid. But, you are also naive if you went into the business of becoming a landlord with the expectation that all tenants would be smart. It's not the governments job to make your tenant smart. You chose to be a landlord, you take the risk that goes with it.

Some businesspeople. Have their paws out for billions in taxpayer subsidies every year, but squeal like piggies when some pretty minimal standards are required for the product they're selling.

Why don't you produce such information for your tenants if you feel so strongly about it? (assuming you don't)

"if I supply my tenants smoke alarms what assurances do I have that they won't be damaged or disabled. which has happened to all (20+) units installed over last 10 years."
Surely this is what the regular inspections & bond are for?

I do have some sympathy for landlords out there who actually value their asset enough to invest time/effort/resources in order to provide a quality product and go to the effort of finding good tenants and maintaining a good two way relationship but I have none whatsoever for landlords who want to charge market (or above market) rate for a substandard dwelling then cry foul when their short term greed is questioned. Chris_J's comment about not doing anything about this until 2019 typifies that attitude. And as for fire alarms, well if you can't be bothered to spend $8 to help stop your asset literally going up in smoke then it says a lot about how you view your investment. As a tenant I'll pay for it if its not there as I value my life but don't think I won't take it with me when I leave

There are undoubtedly problems on both sides of the fence but for every example you want to throw about bad tenants I can cite examples of equally bad landlords.

For the record, almost all my properties that are rented have smoke alarms (all should so long as a tenant has disabled them), heatpumps (most do except for very small flats) and ceiling insulation.

Requiring underfloor insulation is the issue and it is just nanny state nonsense.

I do provide that information, and insulation and aircon, and progressive double glaze. becuase I personally believe in those things. The property manager likes me because I usually make his life easier doing so.

Re: smoke alarms.
Inspections don't repair them, in fact, what happens is I just get legally required to put in more to replace those absent on an inspection (contract says they're there so I have to make sure they are, tenants make excuses or fit dud ones back up (we used to replace the batteries during one of the inspections) when the landlord comes by.
Remember we're dealing with people who punch, kick or accidentally put a large hole through 13mm gib, then hang a poster or calendar over the hole and hope we won't notice.

I actually put the alarms in to protect families. the property is insured, so yeah it's a big hassle and a bit of loss of rent, and probably have to have a gap loan to finance for the brownfield work.

But yeah, all destroyed.
I did ask about the bond, but the first time the tenancy tribunal just said I was being petty so the bond people wouldn't do the deduction. I think the current property manager is a bit tougher unlike the previous drinker so that might help.

I'm more than happy for you to take all your property when you leave. Not problems with that at all.
Just as I think all landlords are happy to put hanging fixtures for your alarms.

It's just, I pay (they used to be about $30 bucks), $150 a house out of my pocket, and when the tenant leaves they're in the back of cupboards, under sinks, in gardens, smashed, soaked. They don't protect _anyone_ like that. Not my house, not your family! yet why should I be paying out $150 for nothing. I've got better things to spend on.

And apart from the bad cooks, apparently incenses and marijuana smoke also set the old ones off (although I don't know if it was that or rubbish put on the element/hot blade).
also used to have problems with "reburning" wood style fires, as the wind changed often they would puff a bit of smoke out the front venting which would set off alarms. often late at night, after it accumulated for a while (another reason for heat pumps).

Sounds like you need to improve you tenant vetting/referencing, or maybe choose to target a better quality tenant for your properties.
But I do sympathise with landlords who end up with tenants who just don't give s... because their Letting Agent failed them (NB: Do landlords actually have any recourse against letting agents who don't do a good job?)

I rent and definitely do NOT meet your description of your previous (hopefully not current) tenants, nor am I a lazy, profligate, "idiot" incapable of saving. Its a two way relationship with good and bad on both sides unfortunately.

yes we did change property managers, actually the previous one retired, and I sold the worst affect property (which was also the one with most paid off) because I didn't have time to repair floors in the middle of the night in calving season. (The tenant that was stripping engines down in the kitchen, even left me a few of the diesil blocks in the garden when they went, lucky me)

What bugs me is good tenants where the cost of the damage of bad tenants too, If I'm sanding down floors I'm not doing something more useful. If I'm ripping up one year old carpet in one flat then other flats they have to wait an extra year.

As a landlord I'm consider a personal of wealth, and if the property is in trusts or companies thats even more certain that:
As a renter, your landlord is actually the guys you've got a contract with. Which is probably a rental company. If you have a private residential contract then both of you (the tenant and the landlord (but not the owner)) can settle materials in the jurisdiction of the tenancy tribunal. In such matters the rental company staff are consider _agents_ acting on the _behalf_ of the owner. the owner isn't in the contract between the two of you, so the owner gets no say (unless he's rude then he gets a "patient glare" from the Arbitrator but the owner won't even get into the room unless someone mistakenly writes his name on the front page of the Court hearing papers (derived from affadavits filed by the plaintiff and defendant).
Everthing that the rental company person does to defend his company will be considered to be said on the owners behalf. As an owner, they sell you right down the gurgler if they have too. Although not without reason, the property manager that stuffed things up for me, the company accidentally twinked out a mistake on a "Notice to Vacate"... A "Notice to Vacate" is a _legal_ instrument, not just a letter, altering them is Fraud, and almost got my rental company person in very very big trouble.

however said company had let property to dog owners, who were being problem and only registered one of the pit bulls.

My contract wasn't with the tenant, so I couldn't do anything in the tenancy tribunal.

My only recourse was to file for damages in Civil Court hearing against my Agent for not doing his agent work properly (per our contract with each other). But that's full Civil Court, not small claims or tribunals, which is much tougher and lots more expensive, and they don't like no barristers filing actions.
I could also follow the companies internal complaints system but since their agents had royally screwed up they didn't want to deal with it internally (officially) and the agent had already been terminated/resigned.

If anyone does run into trouble, get hold of the Residential Tenancy people, Your local LAw Center or Citizens advice buearu. The Tenancy people are policy prejudiced against being allowed to talk to tenants but that can be great for general advice, and making sure you're following correct steps. The Law Centers can put you through to companies which deal with the right piece of legislation, and the CAB have good experience and pamphlets and often have a visting free lawyer who can brief you with an outline of how the law regards the responsibilities.

This post is not directed to any particular person or case or event. I am not a lawyer, nor formally trained in any area of law. Please take this posting as general ideas and a place to start, and in all matters seek expert legal advice from real lawyers (in your own country)...and not off the Internet.
While this posting is well meaning I am unable to guarantee it's veracity and certainly not how it will apply in any particular instance. play nice.

What I love most about these articles is the commentary and ever-so-helpful alternative suggestions for keeping houses dry or warm. Things like "curtains are better than double glazing", or "get a dehumidifier", and "just improve the ventilation" or "use a squeegy". Here's my suggestion: How about building houses using 21st century technology (or even 20th century for that matter).
I've lived here for 8 years but lived in the US prior to that.
Here is the difference: In the US, I lived in a house my dad built in the 1940s, a brick condo built in the 1920s (revamped in the 1980s to include double glazing and insulation), a house built in the 1970s and one built in 2000. What I can tell you about each of them is that they all had central heating, thermostats throughout the house to control temperature in difference zones, insulation and double glazing. Water did not accumulate on every window in the house (except bathroom after a shower), air did not leak thru every gap and I was able to stay warm despite temperatures that frequently run below zero in winter, weather that included snow up to the waist, rain and hurricane force winds.
Let me compare that to here. I have lived in two houses here. One a rental, had central heating but just one thermostat, insulation and single glazed windows. The house was redone just a few years earlier because of a fire (~2000). It was "up to standard". All the windows leaked, the doors rattled and the heat barely kept the house warm. Mold and moisture buildup were constant.
The second home was built in 2007. Double glazing, two heat pumps and insulation. Much warmer and the windows don't leak, but still a much colder house to live in than my 1970's built home in the US. This is despite the fact that temps usually don't drop below 40 here. Moisture build up is still a problem, so yes, I need to own a dehumidifier and I still have to manage the mold build up. I also own thermal curtains.

So help me out, why is this? There weather here in Wellington is not nearly as cold as the East Coast of the US. There may be more rain and a bit more wind, but the East Coast also gets its share of hurricanes. Why are US houses warmer and dryer?

My cynical side says building standards here are still crap. For example, does the double glazing that is required here have the same thermal rating as US double glazing? How about the R rating of the insulation? And don't even get me started on the treated vs untreated timber. US has been building water tight homes with untreated timber for decades.

And what is up Smoke detectors being required now? Really? They weren't required before? Wow.

I believe that a big difference between here and the US is that the standard NZ building code requires that exterior walls be moisture permeable. This essentially all but forbids the use of dry-walls which are an important part of the building envelope in the US.

You can build to different specs but consenting and engineering cost shoot through the roof if you do.

I wondered about that. Thanks for the insight.

Agree. My substantial 1840 (wood) and 1936 (brick) houses in the NE USA. also rentals of various ages, were dry and warm. Not here.

I'm building a house to the German passive house standard. Windows are required to be completely airtight, have no thermal bridging and have a r-value of 0.8 or higher. No internal surface including the windows is allowed to drop below 17 degrees regardless of the weather outside - this prevents condensation forming as the dew point is never reached. The NZ building code specifies an r value of 0.23 or 3 times as much heat loss, allows unbroken metal frames (which perfectly conducts cold into the building) and holes that allow cold air in so that the moisture can drain out. To meet the passive house standard adds only about 10% to the build cost.

Building properly adds little to the first time cost. And lifetime cost is much less than builidng badly. It seems we have bad houses, that actually cost us a lot. It's a Kiwi thing.

it's cheaper than retro-fitting and fixing mistakes, but modern building standards are MUCH more expensive that historical, and not just because of design and consent prices.

The "bad houses" not so much. Poorly educated people who think everything should be handed to them that's costing a bundle. Many of the "bad houses" were designed when having someone home all day was common, so having a fireplace running all day was normal. They _needed_ the drafts to stop CO2 build up, and to get rid of moisture (remember the old roof suspending drying racks).

Problem is technology changed but instructing people did not.
So no longer did many women stay at home (or go to teachers college, nursing or university; thus hiring housekeepers). No longer would a mother or grandmother's skill be passed, with bonus of free labour, to their daughters. No, now that service and labour vanished, became poor income, then taxed/grandfathered away from the family (against both incomes). resulting skills are not being passed on in schools, nor are the new survival skills being taught with such a good mentor ratio, nor with such "diligence" as before (as some of the older womenfolk might vouch).

And the people leave those schools, expecting the "white collar work, in a world of unemployment" (as warned by some economic professors) and yet not knowing how to operate their house appliance.

yes, it would be nice to live in a wealthy country like the US, where such technology and supplies were ridiculously cheap, and where the humidity and temperature variations were more advantageous.

Shall I describe to you a US friend who has to continuous run bilge pumps in his basement/laundry otherwise it floods overnight with over a foot of water...
Or of others who in a city had to crack the ice in drink cups left on the bedside table by morning, and would open the refrigerator finding it warmer inside than out. Admittedly the landlord for that domocile is noted for his startling hair but I think your comments might be somewhat privileged.

The US uses heavier materials.
The humidity even on the East Coast is much lower than Wellington.
Many US houses have less trees and more open space, and drier winds.
Depending on your latitude you also had more daylight hours and more solar gain throughout.
The US continential "frost zone" is warmer, and generally the soil drier - this is because even on the coast you have huge landmass behind you, so you get breezes that carry off moisture. Not deliver it. Hence with climate change, much of the US will get drier, within torrential rain, where NZ will get wetter (from condensawte both sides) and spot droughts.

As you've commented the technology supply is _much_ lower in quality, and that's for what is available, and hugely higher in price, and incomes across the board are much lower (and even further lower in disposable income).

Loans in NZ are hysterically priced compared to anything in the US - that 1970 house would have been paying over 20% per annum on the house loans in NZ. and 30 and 50 year loans were Not Available.

Also information is _much_ harder to come buy in NZ. Even if you have the time left in your day to read it.

Government also locked NZ into the dark ages by allowing only a certain number of importers at a time for any product line. this meant the whole of NZ was held to ransom so they could get huge profits, while limiting themselves to the cheapest import products to the mass market.

And in the US there is a history of massive infrastructure planned in advance and implimented over time. NZ government and unions didn't let they develop in NZ. The US even offered to put in a straight roadway where the Manawatu Gorge is now.... but the NZ government said no, and we've been continually patching and limping through it ever since, but we have things like transmission gully which has been happening for, what, 10 years now? Such big construction isn't permitted or worth bothering about in NZ (unless you're a government crony).... so things like subways and small things like storm water often don't work well... so all the sections in town are damp because half of them have only been designed to drain onto the back yard (adding to dampness) or onto streets,. they used to go into the sewer systems, and flood those catchments instead. But because NZ government and unions were small minds wanting control, they never found ways post-depression, to impliment anything bigger. This is because NZ government and unions wanted a hand on every rudder and in every pie. One guy tried setting up a chicken export business in christchurch...worth millions of dollars of exports....refused permission because the government didn't have a category of export on the list to file it under, so they simply refused him and so he went to Australia. Same with an engine designer, they couldn't decide on which safety regs he should have to operate his factory (automobile , or machinery) so they just said no, and off to aussi he went. Same with music industry, government wanted lots of taxes and fought import of equipment and license regs every step of the way, so rather than ship music, the bands went to Aussi and didn't look back.

Same with housing.
there a problem so does the NZ government help or make it easier to put in insulation - no , they're looking at extra taxes on capital, extra regulation.

As for smoke detectors, nothing stopped renters buying their own, they just don't love their families that much. I put in bunches of them (at my personal expense) only to have them smashed, tossed in back of cupboards or drawers, and as mentioned through windows. No point claiming them on the security deposit/bond as it wasn't worth the hassle. Now if they care about themselves or families they can put them up as many as they want, whereever they want. I='d even refund them the price when they leave if they asked...or used them.

Insulation done properly should last for 20+ years so should be paid for using finance over a similar period. Assuming a worst case of $10,000 to do the job, this would add $9.62 to an interest only mortgage at 5%. As a tenant, I would pay an extra $10/week to stay warm. The savings on heating would come to more than that.

not appropriate to take such works over 20 years period. eg everything going into a house should last 50 years but do you see any 50yr loan on offer?

Also depreciation at a reasonable rate does apply, with final at $500. so getting that discount must apply. however so does the opportunity and intertest cost. That's why 5 years works out about right, otherwise ... each income "dollar" spent for maintenance is one gone _forever_, shall we add that up with opportunity cost :| After the 5 year period other costs should be lifting as the principal remaining has dropped, keeping things stable.
For a 20year interest bill, you'll be paying interest most of that time.

actually, without additional heating the house will be colder for most of the day. the insulation just slows the loss of heat, (inwards from sun) and outwards. In the US most insulation (pre aicon) was in roofs to keep heat _out_.

Apparently all is not good in Landlord land. Or is "Your Landlord" simply lording it on holiday somewhere else?

I can't help thinking, while everyone is arguing, that someone is making a crap load of money out of this... it may be the same people who have shares in a scaffolding business or selling worksafe gear, or orange road cones or nait tags etc etc... Maybe the Pink batt company should be donating some money to poor people to help them run their heaters...fat chance ....

Probably Fletchers. Are they paying for a party at Nick Smith's place too?

I wonder what other backhanders the Nats are getting.