“I could have bought a house with how much rent I have paid to live in places that made me sick!”Anonymous – long term renter
Renters in Aotearoa live in damper, mouldier, colder, houses than home-owners. Housing quality and quantity is a in persistent crisis. One that means we still have a homelessness problem, we still see kids getting sick (even with rheumatic fever) and people are still stuck in intergenerational poverty. All from the one place that should be safest – home!
Healthy Homes Compliance
Since September 2022 we have been running a campaign focused on rental compliance with the Healthy Homes Standards (HHS) and other basic requirements of the RTA.
New healthy homes standards are only as good as their enforcement. Our social services were regularly in unhealthy non-compliant houses, but the tenants were reluctant to raise the issue with property managers or landlords (or have us do so) for fear of losing their tenancy.
When we did talk to property managers they would say “we have 120 after a tenancy change.
MBIE has an under-resource compliance team and limited capacity for proactive investigation.
We use TradeMe and any other means we can to attend viewings of rentals on the market. While there, we inspect the rental to make sure it complies with all the HHS, and other basic requirements, such as having an oven. There is no tenant who is scared of retaliation, and no ambiguity about when the tenancy changed!
Now that 120 days has past since we started this project we are starting to get in touch with the property managers to see if work has been done.
- Get this simple project spread wider
- Advocate for property managers/landlords of places we visit to meet the bare minimum legal requirements. (Why is that still necessary?).
- Build up a database of evidence regarding compliance with new Healthy Homes Standards.
- Push for a warrant of fitness style compliance instead of a voluntary self-certification
We need more people to check out properties up for rent near them. We REALLY would like some people to coordinate the same in other cities.
If you want to help contact us
Tenant Protection and Education
We are working hard to get a tenancy protection service back up and running for Ōtautahi. As part of that process we are gathering stories from people who have sort help and been unable to find it.
Tenant Education Workshops
We are currently running workshops around legal questions or advocacy advice for tenants. What help is available, what’s the best way forward, how to advocate for yourself or support your whanau or neighbours.
We run these workshops in conjunction with community groups to make sure there is a local connection. We bring the legal and advocacy advice, you bring the community!
Contact us if you want to organise an event.
“My last rental already had a mould issue when we moved in, and it stayed a constant issue. I feel bad new people are moving in! The rent (already high) has gone up $70 per week, and no improvements have even been made to this damp, dark, small house.”Gabrielle
“A home that is not up to the HHS is a health risk… The current standards are the very minimum any landlord should ever consider.”Nevil Pierse, Deputy Director of He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme
“It probably has insulation, because it has to meet the HHS … yeah it should have insulation.”Property manager who had no idea whether the house they were trying to rent out was insulated.