Don’t wait - get compliant
Thursday 30 May 2019
Radical, costly and with issues? Yes. But the new Healthy Homes minimum standards are warranted and will improve New Zealand’s housing stock, according to one property management consultant.
By Miriam Bell
The standards have been a long time coming, they’ve been hotly contested along the way and mutterings of discontent continue to swirl around them.
But David Faulkner, who is the director of property management consultants Real-iQ, says they have merit as all New Zealanders have the right to live in a warm, dry home.
“If you are a landlord who thinks otherwise, you should sell up and put your money elsewhere. And if you are a property manager who thinks otherwise you should leave the industry and get another job.”
While he disagrees with some of the things the Government is doing in the tenancy area, he’s in agreement with them over the standards, he told his audience at the GRA Property Leaders Event last weekend.
“The standards will lead to much better housing stock overall and that means tenants will be happier and healthier which means less problems and, hopefully, fewer Tenancy Tribunal disputes over housing conditions.
“In turn, tenants are likely to stay longer and respect the properties more. And that means less issues with vacancies and/or having to regularly select new tenants.”
On the other hand, there will be considerable costs for landlords to get their properties up to the level necessary to comply with the standards and that might lead to rent rises, he says.
“There could well be growth in the amount of derelict properties as landlords simply don’t do the work and just leave them sitting there. Many may landbank and wait for a developer, or just sell up.”
Overall, he thinks that any good landlord who maintains their property should have no issue in complying with the new standards.
“The standards that we now have are, essentially, a beefed-up version of the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947 – which, if you take a look over recent Tribunal decisions, you’ll see being quoted more and more.”
They are now law so the questions for landlords to ask are what do they need to do to comply with them and when should they get on to it.
While the standards come into force on 1 July this year, rental properties do not need to comply immediately: there’s a timetable with 1 July 2024 being the date all properties must be fully compliant.
But Falkner says the date that landlords should be working towards is 1 July 2021.
That’s because from then on, rental properties have to comply with the standards within 90 days of the renewal of a tenancy or the start of a new tenancy.
It gives landlords plenty of time to get their rental properties up to the standard required, he says. “So my advice would be to just get on to it as soon as possible.
“Think of the supply and demand issues that arise as a deadline comes closer – like with insulation products at the moment where supplies are down and installers are booked up.
“Don’t wait, get compliant and the end result will be healthier homes.”
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