A University of Otago study by medical students looked at 106 children admitted to Wellington hospital over winter. It found that the main cause for admission, 38%, was due to the effects of inhalation of second hand smoke. Other reasons were dampness (30%), mould (24%) and overcrowding (21%) in the home. The authors say that these findings support the need for a warrant of fitness on rental properties.
The NZ Property Investors' Federation (NZPIF) does not believe that a warrant of fitness will be the best solution for these families. "A warrant of fitness does not target the children in need as indicated by this study" says NZPIF Executive Officer, Andrew King.
"In fact, a warrant of fitness system may have the opposite effect. It would be expensive to administer and therefore rental prices may well increase, leading to higher levels of overcrowding as tenants move in with each other to cope with rent increases. A more targeted solution is to ensure that rental properties are insulated and well heated with energy efficient heaters."
The NZPIF believes that making insulation and energy efficient heaters tax deductible would increase their use in rentals without the ongoing cost of regular WOF inspections. A Government report has shown that for every $1 spent insulating and heating a home, the Government saves $5 in health spending, which would more than compensate for the tax deduction.
NZPIF Media Release circulated Friday 13 December.