Today ActionStation and Renters United presented an open letter from their People’s Review of Renting to Housing Minister Phil Twyford supporting the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill which is due to be debated tonight.
“A common theme in the People’s Review were stories of people in homes so cold they were constantly making them sick. Our members are pleased the government is prioritising a bill that is the first step in fixing our broken renting system,” said ActionStation spokesperson and report co-author Rick Zwaan.
“We ask the government to fully seize the opportunity of this bill by adding in minimum safety requirements, ensuring strong compliance via a Warrant of Fitness, and bringing insulation standards into the 21st Century ensuring the bill comes into effect no later than July 2019,” said spokesperson for Renters United and report co-author Kate Day.
In response Minister Twyford committed to ensuring strong legislation was passed so everyone could live in a warm dry home. He acknowledged the need for more work to enhance the rights and protections of people who rent and committed to do a full review of renting early next year.
“The healthy homes agenda is the first piece of reform to improve tenancy law. I’m working with officials at the moment to put in place a public consultation in the early months of next year that will allow us to review the Residential Tenancies Act to deliver more security of tenure and better lives for renters. My hope is that by the end of next year we will pass legislation that will usher in a new era of modern tenancy law” said Minister for Housing Phil Twyford.
The People’s Review of Renting is a crowd-funded and crowd-sourced report detailing the findings of hundreds of people’s experiences of renting in New Zealand and the dire need for improvement. It was released in the depths of winter just months before the election.
“It’s fantastic to see the Labour-led government’s take on the findings and recommendations from our report and make improving the lives of renters a key priority,” said Rick.
The plan to urgently improve the state of renting has strong support from government support parties.
“Yesterday we met with Green Party Housing Spokesperson Marama Davidson and were delighted to hear genuine strong commitments to further enhance the quality of rental homes, improve affordability and ensure the rights of renters are protected and improved,” said Kate Day.
The Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill is being debated this week and will pass into law shortly. It puts a requirement for minimum standards of quality for rented homes into law and enhances provisions for enforcement.