Every New Zealander deserves a warm, healthy home to live in, and the Health Homes Guarantee Act will help ensure that, said Minister of Housing and Urban Development Phil Twyford.
“The passing of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act is a huge leap forward for public health and is another one of the Labour-led Government’s 100 Day promises kept,” Mr Twyford says.
“Until now, rental properties have been treated differently from other products. A butcher isn’t allowed to sell meat that will make their customers sick, but a landlord has allowed to rent out a house that is too cold, or damp and damages the health of its occupants.
"Most landlords do a good job, but the fact is the lack of legal standards means some rentals are not currently fit to live in. 40,000 children a year are admitted to hospital due to diseases are related to poor housing, and 1,600 New Zealanders’ lives a cut short by illnesses caused by living in cold, damp conditions. This has to change. Thanks to this law, it will.
“I want to thank Andrew Little for his work in bringing this legislation to Parliament and through its first stages as a Member’s Bill. I also want to acknowledge the support of New Zealand First and the Greens in passing the Bill into law. National will have to explain to New Zealanders why they have stood beside a few slum landlords, rather than stood up for the health of our families.
“This law enables the Government to set standards for rental housing quality. The Healthy Homes standards will cover heating, insulation, ventilation, draught stopping, drainage and moisture. Many landlords will already meet these standards and will not have to change anything. For those that need to upgrade their properties, government grants for installing heating and insulation will be available.
“The Government will run a consultation process over the next 18 months to ensure that tenants, landlords, public health and building science experts and industry representatives have an opportunity to get involved in creating robust minimum standards” Mr Twyford says.