Homestar director Leigh Featherstone (left) and Dunedin
Mayor Dave Cull at a New Zealand Green Building Council
event, in Dunedin in August. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Twenty-five Dunedin rental properties will be part of
national trial of a housing warrant of fitness assessment
system aimed at lifting housing standards.
About 125 rental properties are to be given the once-over by
home assessment experts in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington,
Christchurch and Dunedin, with support from each of those
The field tests will be done in January and February and the
results published in March.
Houses tested will not get a Wof immediately; rather they
will be part of an exercise to test the assessment tool, to
ensure it works appropriately.
The scheme is intended to make rental housing safer to live
in, especially for children, students and the elderly.
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said improving the housing quality
was essential for Dunedin's economic and social welfare and a
collaborative programme such as this would help the city
develop appropriate ways to achieve that.
The assessment tool was developed by the NZ Green Building
Council and the University of Otago (Wellington) with
feedback and input from the five involved councils, ACC and
other housing experts. ACC's programme manager for home
safety, Megan Nagel, said ACC was supporting the Wof trial as
part of its focus on reducing injuries in and around the
Homestar director at the New Zealand Green Building Council,
Leigh Featherstone, said the support of ACC and the cities
involved showed a strong joint dedication to improving local
housing and health and it was hoped that following the field
tests there would be a working tool to rate rental standards
The assessments will take about an hour at each house, and
will identify whether a rental property meets basic housing
quality standards that impact on the following areas: warmth
(or ability to effectively heat), dryness, mould and
dampness, injury risk, sanitation, basic state-of-repair and
basic living needs.
There will be a mixture of private rental properties and
council social housing properties.
Homes will be selected by individual councils, which will
recruit landlords to volunteer to participate and the
councils will also select a sample of their social housing
portfolio for the field test.
Each council will identify service providers to conduct the
This might be council staff, environmental health officers or
eco design advisers, or independent contractors with
experience in home assessments. All of the assessors will
undergo training before the assessments begin.