Labour has reintroduced their Healthy Homes Bill which would make insulation and heating compulsory in rental properties. When Phil Twyford first introduced the Bill in 2013 he correctly realised that a full WOF for rental properties was expensive and not the answer for improving tenants lives and keeping children healthy.
The NZ Property Investors' Federation (NZPIF) agrees that focusing on insulation and heating is far more effective than an expensive and wide ranging WOF for rental properties. However forcing expensive heating into every rental property is not the right answer.
“We need solutions that focus on the real problems and those in real need” says Andrew King, Executive Officer of the NZPIF
King says that in a membership survey last year, Property Investor Association members showed heat pumps were the main form of heating that were being installed into their rentals. However members were installing these with the agreement of their tenants not because they were forced to do so.
Energy efficient heaters are expensive and increase the cost of renting a property.
Labour state the tragic case of Emma-Lita Bourne as a reason for advocating there should be compulsory insulation and heating. However Emma-Lita's home had insulation, heating and even an air ventilation system. What her family didn't have was the funds to turn the heating on.
“Rather than making heating and insulation compulsory, the NZPIF believes that allowing them to be tax deductible or providing subsidies for them would be a better strategy. This would reduce the pressure for rental prices to increase” says King. “In addition, we believe that families such as that of Emma-Lita Bourne should be provided with electricity vouchers during the winter months so they can turn their heater on.”