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Healthy home delays ‘are a slap in the face’

Renters could be stuck in unhealthy homes for longer, as the government introduces a raft of changes to the rental sector that include delays to reforms.
Housing Minister Megan Woods said an extension to the healthy homes deadline was just one of several reforms in an announcement made this week.
“The change means private landlords have one more year to comply, so all private rentals must comply by July 1, 2025 instead of July 1, 2024,” Woods said.
“The timeframe for compliance for a new or renewed tenancy shifts from 90 days to 120 days.”
Other reforms included changes regarding methamphetamine contamination and introducing the regulation of residential property managers so that they are registered, trained and licensed.
Wairarapa Property Investors president Tim Horsbrugh said the extensions were a “slap in the face”.
“The last survey in 2021 was tracking compliance and 85 per cent of private rentals either had met or had action underway to comply. By now nearly all private rentals should be compliant.
“I see the extension of the health homes compliance as a bit of a slap in the face for private landlords, but more of a slap in the face and insult to the tenants renting from the state.
“Kainga Ora tenants are not second-class renters. Private landlords have made significant progress towards full compliance, despite increased tax burden, covid related issues and inflationary costs.
“It goes to show how much more productive the private sector is at managing property compared to the government sector.”
Green Party renters spokesperson Chloe Swarbrick said the regulations didn’t go far enough.
“The Government is consciously deciding to exclude 60 per cent of the rental market from regulation by limiting their proposals just to property managers and excluding private landlords.
“We’ve heard time and again that some of the most egregious breaches of renters’ rights come from landlords who are not up to scratch on the law.
“A universal register is something any good actor in the sector should want.”
The Greens have called for a warrant of fitness in place of the healthy homes standards.
However, Horsbrugh said he saw the regulation of property managers as a good thing.
“They have an obligation to both the tenant and the landlord. They are handling someone else’s money so regulation is not a bad thing.
“The property managers I know have been very professional in their work and conduct, so this extra regulation shouldn’t be an issue to them, except it may add extra costs to their business.”
In New Zealand, about 40 per cent of rentals are operated by property managers.

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