The just-released Otago University study of 412 homes that has made a direct link between cold housing and ill health in children demonstrates once again the need for tighter controls on the quality of rental housing in this country, Green Party Housing Spokesperson Sue Bradford says .
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We call on the Government to make the issue of minimum health standards for housing a central part of its long-promised changes to the Residential Tenancies Act.Ã¢â‚¬Â Ms Bradford says.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Greens would like to have in place something akin to a warrant of fitness for rental properties - with minimum requirements for health and safety purposes.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is mandatory to carry out this exercise for cars Ã¢â‚¬â€œ why shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t we do it with housing as well, which has an even more significant impact on the health of adults and children ?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“While I applaud the steps that Housing New Zealand has taken in recent years to improve conditions in its properties, huge issues remain to be resolved, particularly over the quality of private rental accommodation.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The shortage of affordable housing is seeing more and more New Zealanders living in rental accommodation, and the prevalence of sub-standard rental accommodation raises pressing health and social justice issues,Ã¢â‚¬Â Ms Bradford says.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In both urban and provincial New Zealand, too many families are living in homes that are not only cold and dark Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in many cases, the places they rent lack even the most basic requirements for heating, light and insulation.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If the Government is truly committed to ensuring there is sufficient secure, affordable long term rental accommodation in this country, they must include minimum heating, light and insulation conditions as part of the Residential Tenancies Act.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The people in this country unable to afford their own home - or who have no access to state housing - deserve a better deal. Our laws say that people cannot drive cars that are virtual death traps. Landlords shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be able to rent out virtual death traps either, to people who have no other housing choices open to them,Ã¢â‚¬Â Ms Bradford says.