According to This Stuff article, the Wellington city council is proposing mandatory standards for both rentals and owner occupied housing. And they are also running a voluntary rental WOF scheme. Which is supposedly going to become compulsory for rental properties in Wellington. And of course with the way that councils typically operate, it will probably spread to all council areas as well. A more recent Stuff article about the rental WOF
Some possible expensive compliance points:
- If a ceiling space exists - it must have insulation. If that space is not accessible, then access needs to be provided.
- Stairwells need lights that can be controlled from both top and bottom, or sensor lights. Outside porch lights are required. Could mean expensive electrical work needed.
- Effective heating required. It uses NZBC G5 for defining adequate heating - Calculations for heating output power in watts Vs floor area. And it requires fixed heating except if the house is very small. Yet it says nothing about running costs of heating. So landlords can just install fixed electric resistance heaters and they will comply. Of course will probably involve more electrical work.
- Handrails required for interior stairs and outside steps. Could become expensive building work.
- Railings on decks and balconies - upgrade to current code or close to requirements - Often this will require a building consent to do, so can quickly become very expensive. As it can easily involve structural building work which is not repairs and maintenance.
Quite a few of the things are probably items that tenants are not going to care about. Yet a strict rental WOF will probably cause rents to rise. As properties that are uneconomic to upgrade get removed from the rental pool. And landlords with newly upgraded properties ask for higher rents to reflect that they are now upgraded. As for heating - a fixed resistance heater is going to be of little benefit to a tenant. As plug in resistance heaters are cheap to purchase. But if a tenant can't afford to pay for power to run say a 2KW fan heater, they are not going to be able to be able to afford to run a 2KW resistance wall panel heater provided the landlord.
Of course Im all in favour of better quality housing. But higher rents are never going to be better for tenants. So of course Im also apprehensive of proposals such as this. There are comments from some landlords on other forums saying they are in favour of a rental WOF. As they say that their own properties would easily comply. And they think that rents will go up. So easy money for them.
My own house in Auckland would fail on a number of things in the WOF if it were to be assessed. Yet there is no one for me to complain to since I live in it myself.
What does everyone think?