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Landlords should encourage tenants to tell them of problems with rental properties, the NZPIF says in response to new research showing rental properties are in worse condition than owner-occupied homes.
By Miriam Bell
Rental properties are twice as likely to have poorly maintained features as owner-occupied properties, according to the latest Housing Condition Survey by Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ).
The survey, which is conducted every five years, found that a third of rental properties were considered by assessors to have poorly maintained features, compared to only 14% of owner-occupied properties.
Rental properties were also three times more likely to feel damp, twice as likely to smell musty and were more likely to have visible mould.
Overall, the condition of New Zealand housing has improved since the previous survey – with a decrease in poorly maintained properties in both the owner-occupied and rental categories.
But the survey shows that a gap between owner-occupied properties and rentals remains.
The biggest differences in quality were between interior linings and fittings, as well as exterior doors and windows, all of which were in poorer condition in rented homes.
Building Minister Nick Smith told media that the results were a consequence of owner-occupiers having a more direct interest in a property’s maintenance.
This meant they were likely to do more self-maintenance and could organise repairs more directly.
Smith said the survey results sent a message that landlords could do better.
They also justified a law change last year that imposed extra obligations on landlords, including making insulation and smoke alarms compulsory.
But the NZ Property Investors Federation (NZPIF) believes tenants have a role to play, too.
NZPIF executive officer Andrew King said the general psyche of New Zealanders prioritises home ownership over renting.
“As a result, people don’t see value in paying rent and like to pay as little as possible. This, in turn, can impact on the quality of rental housing.”
Additionally, tenants often don’t tell landlords that there are things wrong with their rental properties and landlords only become aware of them if they conduct full property inspections, he said.
“We would encourage tenants to bring up any problems with a property with their landlords.
“But we would also encourage landlords to let their tenants know that if there is anything wrong with the property they should be approached about it.”
King said most landlords would like their tenants to talk to them about problems with the property but it all came down to ensuring that communication lines were open.
“Ultimately, it is in the best interest of a landlord to keep their rental property in good condition and up to scratch.
“It makes good business sense as tenants of well-maintained properties are likely to stay longer, meaning lower vacancy rates.”
This might be the case but landlords can and should do a better job, according to Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.
The BRANZ data shows that most landlords are doing a good job but the government’s low standards allow too many rentals that are unhealthy to live in, he said.
“A small number of landlords are letting down the sector by renting cold, mouldy rentals. These houses need to be brought up to a decent standard for people to live in.”
Making Labour’s Healthy Homes Bill become law would help ensure New Zealand’s rental properties are healthy to live in and would save the taxpayer on health costs, Twyford added.
Continue reading this article at the original source from Landlords.co.nz
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