More than 90 per cent of New Zealand rental homes inspected
in a pilot warrant of fitness test failed to pass.
The trial, which assessed 144 properties across Auckland,
Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, found the
vast majority (94 per cent) failed on at least one of the 31
criteria on the checklist.
Carried out by home assessment experts, the inspections
looked at weathertightness, insulation and ventilation,
lighting, heating, condition of appliances and general
The top five areas that rental homes failed on were water
temperature, lack of smoke alarms in bedrooms, lack of
code-compliant handrails and balustrades, lack of a fixed
form of heating, and security.
However, around 36 per cent of the homes inspected would
require only a few minor fixes, estimated to cost between $50
- $150, to pass the WOF, the trial's organisers said.
Some changes were as minor as inserting batteries in smoke
alarms or adjusting water temperature.
The trial WOF comes amid calls for the introduction of a
standardised criteria for rental properties to meet.
It tested a range of areas that could potentially be included
in a housing WOF, aiming to identify aspects such as average
assessment times and how to best communicate results to
landlords and tenants.
The assessment tool was developed by the NZ Green Building
Council and the University of Otago, Wellington, with
feedback and input from the five councils, and the Accident
"The trial was really important so that we could gain an
understanding about what is going to work for landlords,
assessors and tenants. For a housing WOF to work it has to
add value for the landlords and we needed to actually trial
the draft WOF checklist and methodology," said steering
groups spokeswoman Dr Julie Bennett from the University of
Auckland Mayor Len Brown said that with a third of New
Zealanders living in rental accommodation, the trial
underscored that a WOF system for rentals would be highly
useful to prospective tenants.
"The work so far shows real progress is possible in our
efforts to ensure tenants have healthy and safe homes and
that landlords maintain good minimum standards.
"I look forward to the next stage where we can apply this
initiative more broadly, particularly in the most vulnerable
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the trial highlighted
that basic measures such as insulation and good heating are
still lacking in many rental properties.
"Warm, dry, safe housing is a fundamental need, especially
for vulnerable people, young and old. Any WOF tool will need
to be accompanied by continuing support for insulation of
The steering group will now look at the results more
thoroughly and investigate ways it can refine the proposed
WOF system, before presenting that information to
- 144 properties inspected, aged from the 1880s to less than
10 years old, and ranging from detached houses to apartments.
- The inspection checklist looked at 31 areas.
- Average time to inspect properties was 51 minutes.
- The majority of properties (94 per cent) failed the
- Top five failed criteria:
* 40 per cent of houses did not pass the water temperature
* 30 per cent of bedrooms did not have a working smoke alarm
within 3 metres of the bedroom.
* 31 per cent of houses lacked code-compliant handrails and
* 37 per cent of houses did not pass the check for having a
fixed form of heating.
* 38 per cent of houses did not pass the security stays
- Patrice Dougan of APNZ