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Topic # 224051 31-Oct-2017 00:11
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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

 

Here is the assessment manual Ver3.0 Released Aug 2017. And the WCC webpage with an overview.

 

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?






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  Reply # 1892874 31-Oct-2017 00:27
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Surely this sort of thing is a central government thing, if it is needed. Why are local councils getting involved? Not only that, but we will end up with rules that are not uniform between councils, and then will require national standards. It is a slippery slope.

 

Also Nanny state much? Or the new term being used for nanny state...an 'active' government?

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1892891 31-Oct-2017 07:40
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I am all for a standard and honestly don't have any issues with the bullet points listed by the OP.  Lighting, hand rails and the like are core safety things that should be there.  Insulation and heating are for health.  Both are admirable outcomes, and one that any business (which is what this is) should be providing for the occupants of it's property, be it commercial or domestic.  

 

The problem I have is that *some* people just don't know how to live in a home.  A landlord can provide all the heating, cooling, and ventilation systems and tenants won't use them.  The concept of opening a window now and then and doing some basic cleaning is foreign to many IME.  And then they bleat to the media about living in a cold damp home.  Landlords can't win.  Perhaps tenants should have to sit and pass a course in healthy living? 

 

 

 

  





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  Reply # 1892892 31-Oct-2017 07:41
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Interesting, like a vehicle wof, they're taking the approach if there are lights there the bulbs must work, else fail.  And it seems to be a pass/fail type deal.  Not sure I agree with that, I don't think houses are quite in the same safetly category as a car, and it should be like the restaurant food prep standard of f through a.

 

Also I kinda took issue with that photo in stuff, where they were bitching about that window not having a stay....did you see how much that that guys head was out the window?  just from shoulders, so it's pretty high, I doubt a kid could get to that.  It just seemed of the examples they provided that things where overly pedantic....  The concept is good.  But it they go stupid on the points they fail you on, then it's going to cause a black market of rentals with no WOF (= cheaper) or push rents up.

 

 





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  Reply # 1892904 31-Oct-2017 08:06
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I'm all for minimum standards on safety items on things such as fire & smoke alarms. Beyond that a tenant has to take responsibility for renting a place that is suitable for them and their family. 


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  Reply # 1892912 31-Oct-2017 08:20
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Senecio:

 

I'm all for minimum standards on safety items on things such as fire & smoke alarms. Beyond that a tenant has to take responsibility for renting a place that is suitable for them and their family. 

 

 

The other bit I had an issue with, but we wont know the back story, is if the place failed on the porch light (like it did) why didn't the tenant notify the landlord that the bulb was out.





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  Reply # 1892919 31-Oct-2017 08:43
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davidcole:

 

 

 

The other bit I had an issue with, but we wont know the back story, is if the place failed on the porch light (like it did) why didn't the tenant notify the landlord that the bulb was out.

 

 

I hadn't read the article so my comment was more generalised. For example, My wife and I would be happy to rent a place with a deck without hand rails for just the two of us. A couple with a young family should avoid the same house. 


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  Reply # 1892964 31-Oct-2017 10:17
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Aredwood:

 

  • Handrails required for interior stairs and outside steps. Could become expensive building work.

 

 

 

What constitutes sufficient steps to require a handrail?

 

I have three steps from ground level to the porch.  Actually two steps between the ground and porch itself.  Will that need a handrail?





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  Reply # 1892988 31-Oct-2017 10:38
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Its a good intention, but it needs common sense and it doesn't need a $250 WOF fee. The grandstanding article said its good for landlords who can stand out, but it also says if there is low compliance it will be mandatory


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  Reply # 1892992 31-Oct-2017 10:45
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Why the window stays? Safety? In case someone falls out the window??  Safety in case you get burgled? Does this mean you are banned from leaving a door open?


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  Reply # 1893020 31-Oct-2017 11:09
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tdgeek:

 

Why the window stays? Safety? In case someone falls out the window??  Safety in case you get burgled? Does this mean you are banned from leaving a door open?

 

 

Obviously safety so the frame doesn't fall out.  Does nothing to prevent someone "falling" through the glass bit.





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  Reply # 1893022 31-Oct-2017 11:10
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tdgeek:

 

Why the window stays? Safety? In case someone falls out the window??  Safety in case you get burgled? Does this mean you are banned from leaving a door open?

 

 

Kids jumping/falling out upstairs windows apparently.

 

 





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  Reply # 1893033 31-Oct-2017 11:19
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geoffwnz:

 

tdgeek:

 

Why the window stays? Safety? In case someone falls out the window??  Safety in case you get burgled? Does this mean you are banned from leaving a door open?

 

 

Obviously safety so the frame doesn't fall out.  Does nothing to prevent someone "falling" through the glass bit.

 

 

I assume you are joking? I vote also for a stay to secure the stay  :-)


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  Reply # 1893040 31-Oct-2017 11:40
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tdgeek:

 

geoffwnz:

 

tdgeek:

 

Why the window stays? Safety? In case someone falls out the window??  Safety in case you get burgled? Does this mean you are banned from leaving a door open?

 

 

Obviously safety so the frame doesn't fall out.  Does nothing to prevent someone "falling" through the glass bit.

 

 

I assume you are joking? I vote also for a stay to secure the stay  :-)

 

 

Partially, yes.  :-)
Stays only hold the window frames, not the glass which tends to be fairly breakable.





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  Reply # 1893064 31-Oct-2017 12:12
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geoffwnz:

 

Partially, yes.  :-)
Stays only hold the window frames, not the glass which tends to be fairly breakable.

 

 

I'm currently getting quotes for retrofitting double glazing.

 

Evidently new regulations came into effect in May last year where windows within 800mm of the floor need to be safety glass to prevent falling out.  


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  Reply # 1893098 31-Oct-2017 12:28
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I didn't realise people falling from second story windows was such a major problem in New Zealand. Seriously though, I believe rentals should be warm and dry, but 'failing' WOF's on things like blown light bulbs is ridiculous and will only drive up compliance costs, thus increasing rents.


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