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Tackle housing issues without pushing up rents: NZPIF

Policies designed to improve the living conditions of low-income families should aim to have a minimal effect on rents, the NZ Property Investors Federation says.

Monday, August 18th 2014, 12:00AM 2 Comments

by The Landlord

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has recently called for a warrant of fitness for rental properties because of rising rents, overcrowding and what it says are poor and deteriorating rental properties.

NZ Property Investors’ Federation executive officer Andrew King said his organisation supported improving rental properties, but there were better ways to do it than with a WOF.

"A WOF is expensive, which will do nothing to help rental prices or overcrowding" King said. "Insulation is one part of providing a healthy home, but heating and ventilation are also critical elements. If tenants can't afford to turn on heating now, how will a WOF help them?"

He said a recent study showed rental prices in New Zealand were lower than they have been in the past.

In 1985, rents amounted to 42% of household income, but in 2014 this has fallen to 32%.

A June 2014 study showed that it is $136 per week cheaper to rent than to own the average New Zealand home.

King said University of Otago studies showed fuel poverty and overcrowding were major factors in the health of families in predominantly low-income households. “A WOF will make these matters worse. Any proposals to improve the living conditions of low-income families need to take into account all of the factors involved. Proposals should aim to have a minimal effect on increasing rental prices and address all the challenges that low-income families face.”

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Comments from our readers

On 18 August 2014 at 4:14 pm Sam said:
They should assess the costs that energy providers are passing on. The Pink Batts scheme for community card holders is fantastic but more needs to be done at a utilities level. Also increasing rates are only going to put pressure on property owners to pass these costs onto tenants.
On 19 August 2014 at 4:30 pm Vicki lee said:
The WOF that's proposed is not required for my two properties as that's my priority anyway - warm healthy homes. If there is to be one, make it one with minimum requirements - insulation, ventilation and ability to heat. That and secure safe homes. Anything else for that house should be reflected in rent price and if it's one that ticks the boxes, then it'll get good tenants and gives the landlord investment gains it deserves. Being a landlord takes some ethical and moral commitment too, I don't want the government poking its nose in my business with too much policy stuff too much.

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Nelson Building Society 5.70 4.69 4.79 -
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The Co-operative Bank - Standard 5.15 4.15 4.09 4.49
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