Warrent of Fitness for rentals go too far

Monday 23 June 2014, 11:07AM
By Allen Realty



Like most property managers, Allen Realty supports a WOF system being trialled around the country, but believes some of the items on the checklist should not have to be the landlord’s responsibility to provide, such as security “stays” on windows and having to provide a heat pump or wood burner in the homes.

While Allen Realty has welcomed the decision by the Steering Committee trialling the system to drop the requirement for security “stays” on windows, it is concerned it will press ahead with a requirement for landlords to provide a fixed form of heating in their properties.

“The majority of properties we manage are presented to a high standard already. But it seems the current WOF being trialled goes too far as it requires additions that many investors will find over the top,” says Award-winning property manager and Business Development Manager Simon Allen.

“It may be unrealistic for owners to provide heaters and heat pumps which may inevitably lead to increased rents. Also, some tenants who struggle to meet monthly bills may not even use them so the owner may be better to invest resources in security or other areas that effect the presentation of the property such as thermal backed curtains, alarms or security lighting.”

The company points out that landlords may not be in a position to replace stained carpert or repaint damaged walls if they are made to spend $400 on a heating source.

The Steering Committee which is working with  City Councils around the country has responded to landlords concerns about security stays being difficult to assess and agreed to drop them from the checklist.

Simon says property managers felt that landlords should not have to add security stays on windows when existing locks and latches were in perfect working condition and the property was already secure.

“The focus should be on structural issues and more important aspects of a property such as insulation, smoke alarms, and safety issues like stairs, pool fences, deck and balcony, and handrails.”

It is generally agreed that the introduction of a WOF scheme will help improve the presentation of sub-standard housing and better presented property will encourage long stable tenancies and improve cash flow. Tenants in lower socio economic areas will generally prefer to rent properties rated well under a WOF scheme.

If the trial is successful, the intention is that Housing New Zealand properties will have full Warrant of Fitness inspections in three-year cycles from mid 2015.

Currently this scheme is just being trialed and there are obstacles to overcome before a systematic introduction of any rental property WOF certificate. But Allen Realty welcomes the steps being taken to lift the standards of rental housing and the Government’s commitment to en sure the scheme is practical and cost effective.

You can read more about the on-going WOF trials and Allen Realty’s offer of free smoke alarms for new clients on Allen Realty website:

For more information, contact Business Development Manager Simon Allen

Ph 09 525 2503 ext 706 or 021 325 880