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Healthy Homes Bill makes 2017 'the year of the renter'

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Renters will see the benefits of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill well before it kicks in in 2019 as landlords make pre-emptive improvements to their properties, says the head of the country’s leading home solutions company.

In a defining year for the state of New Zealand homes, HRV CEO Bruce Gordon believes those in rental accommodation and Kiwis living in substandard housing can expect landlords to pre-empt the introduction of the bill and the standards it sets out for insulation, heating, and ventilation.

"People have been demanding warm dry homes for years and something has finally happened. "HRV’s teams around the country are reporting that some landlords are already starting to look at, and in some cases, have booked in work to ensure they meet their obligations under the bill.

"While the bill will be very beneficial for those living in rental accommodation, it will also raise the standard of the countries’ housing stock in general."

He says warm and dry weather over summer helps mask the problem of cold and damp homes, however once the autumn chill hits again the problem in many homes becomes evident.

"When a house has mould, it has it year-round and it is unhealthy," he says.

Mr Gordon believes the new standards will have a positive impact on everything from the health of families and savings on power bills, through to the long-term condition and value of houses.

Key findings from this year’s HRV State of the Home Survey highlighted the high cost of heating as a major problem for many households.

The survey of 1040 respondents, which was commissioned by HRV and done in association with AUT Professor Charles Crothers, found four out of 10 people try to reduce their power bills during winter by using as little heating as possible.

Almost half of Kiwis said cold, dampness and condensation inside their homes increases the cost of their power bill with these conditions also responsible for worsening the health of adults (36%) and children (27%) and increased medical costs (with a fifth needing extra doctor’s visits).

Mr Gordon says people are being forced to live in colder conditions to combat high power bills with 35 per cent of respondents saying their winter power bill is "excessive" during the colder months.

"Heating costs hit renters hardest with almost half saying their power bill is much higher in winter and more than half use as little heating as possible to try and reduce this cost.

"The Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill will help change this. But at the same time, we need to ensure all homes are brought up to standard and that the large number of new builds are made to a high quality also."

On a positive note, says Mr Gordon, the survey found the vast majority of Kiwis are becoming more environmentally aware and focused on sustainability when it comes to their homes.

He says while there is still a relatively low number of people using solar power, this number is growing steadily and the survey highlighted four in 10 people believe it is "the way of the future".

"An even more encouraging statistic was that almost three quarters of Kiwis want to live in an energy efficient home with sustainable elements such as solar power and recyclable water. That’s promising as we look to the future and how housing - and the environment in general - can be improved."

HRV State of the Home Survey 2017 - 10 key findings

- Nearly half of kiwis go cold in the winter to save on power bills

- 66% of renters said their landlord didn’t respond, or failed to properly remedy an issue

- 40% of kiwis think the state of our waterways need urgent attention

- Only 40% of Maori own a home, compared to 68% of Pakeha

- More than 25% disagree that NZ is ‘clean and green’

- Only 36% of renters have insulation, compared to 73% of home owners

- 80% of renters want their landlords to make their home warmer and drier

- A fifth of Kiwis (more than 900,000) take more than five sick days a year

- Almost 75% want to live in an energy efficient home with sustainable elements such as solar power and recyclable water

- Currently 5% of New Zealander’s have solar power, but four in 10 believe it is the way of the future

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