Housing WoF to be developed and trialled

  • Nick Smith
Housing Budget 2013

The Government is to develop a Housing Warrant of Fitness system and trial it on Housing New Zealand properties, Housing Minister Nick Smith says.

“There are real gains for the health, safety, and welfare of New Zealanders, particularly children and the elderly, from having a better standard of housing,” he says.

“This year, the Government is going to develop a Warrant of Fitness with the support of a Rental Housing Standards Forum.

“The Government needs to first get its own house in order. That is why the Housing Warrant of Fitness will firstly apply to the 69,000 Housing New Zealand properties.

“It is also intended that the Housing WoF will then be extended to other social housing providers. The WoF may be further extended to other rental property where the Government is providing a housing subsidy.

“The development of a Housing Warrant of Fitness is a complex task that needs to build on existing housing standards work such as the Healthy Housing Index, Lifetime Design, HomeStar, Home Energy Rating, and Housing Improvement Regulations,” Dr Smith says.

A forum involving Branz, Otago University, NZ Green Building Council, Beacon, local councils, private rental providers, Community Housing Aotearoa, community trusts, potential third-party funders, tenant advocates, and the New Zealand Property Investors Association is to be established to help develop the Housing Warrant of Fitness.

“The new standard will ensure tenants can live in warm, dry, safe, and healthy homes. The WoF will complement the Government’s insulation programme which has seen around 215,000 homes insulated since 2009. Housing NZ is also on track to have insulated all of its homes capable of being insulated by the end of this year.

“Officials are continuing to work on the elements of housing conditions to be included in a WoF and how it will be assessed, administered and enforced,” Dr Smith says.

A Housing WoF was one of the recommendations of the Expert Advisory Committee on Solutions to Child Poverty.