Late Wednesday 4 May, Labour passed the new Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No2) at its first reading. The new Bill amends the Residential Tenancies Act to require the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to set minimum standards for heating and insulation in rental properties. This is potentially a huge win for students, and could mean the beginning of the end for cold and mould in flats!
Some background information
We've pushed for a rental Warrant of Fitness for several years, and for heating and ventilation to be included in the Residential Tenancies Act.
In February this year we submitted on the Residential Tenancies Amendment (RTA) Bill.
In April this year the Social Services Select Committee made no significant changes to the RTA Bill in their April report; and ventilation and heating were not included.
The most substantive changes in the Committee's report were proposed regulations for insulation to be installed progressively by July 2019, for smoke alarms to be installed by 1 July 2016; and a tightening of regulations around tenants and landlords.
What happens to the RTA Bill next?
The RTA Bill is awaiting its second reading in Parliament. It will be considered by the Committee of the Whole before it has its third and final reading. After its third reading the Bill goes to the Governor General for assent before it becomes law.
Accompanying the RTA Bill will be an information and education campaign that will promote the new smoke alarm and insulation requirements, as well as provide information about other existing requirements, remedies available to tenants, and ways to prevent dampness and mould.
Labour, the Greens, the Māori Party and Peter Dunne all voted for the Bill, giving it 61 votes over 60. This means that its success going forward is contingent on Peter Dunne's continued support. It is likely that he'll require some changes to be made to it before voting for it in the second reading.
We'll continue campaigning
We'll continue to campaign for the introduction of a rental-housing Warrant of Fitness (WoF) to improve housing conditions for students as we have for several years now. We also hope the Council candidates prioritise a rental WoF in the upcoming election in October.
Questions for you
- How do you feel about the new Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill and changes made to the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill?
- What additional changes do you think should be made so rentals are more comfortable for students?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your responses.