Condensation remains a daily battle

Clare Curran and Phil Twyford take a closer look at  mould on windows in Karyn and Graeme...
Clare Curran and Phil Twyford take a closer look at mould on windows in Karyn and Graeme McDougall's council-owned flat. Photo by Samantha McPherson.

Ventilating your home will help alleviate condensation and mould issues, Dunedin City Council City property housing manager Sharron Tipa says.

The message comes after Labour Dunedin South MP Clare Curran and housing spokesman Phil Twyford used a council-owned flat as an example of South Dunedin's cold, damp housing issues earlier this week.

The flat is one of many that has been re-roofed, re-insulated in the roof space and underfloor, fitted with thermalined walls, and had a bathroom fan heater installed by the council.

Tenants Graeme and Karyn McDougall have also been given a three-bar heater, which they do not use.

Mrs Tipa said walls were being re-aligned in the flat to see if that would help get rid of some of the issues but the council ''can't heat the air by just insulating'' the flat.

''It's a bit of education.

''You have to maintain the air flow to help keep the place dry when you can. The colder it gets, the wetter it gets,'' she said.

But the McDougalls say they still have issues with mould and condensation.

''The condensation . . . we can't get rid of it,'' Mr McDougall said.

''We wipe the windows down every day.

''There's mould on the window sills and it is causing health issues. We try and we try to not complain but when it comes to your health, you have to,'' he said.

''Using the heater turns the power bill into a monstrosity. It's a ridiculous problem that two people on the pension can't afford.

''We wrap ourselves up in blankets. We can't do without them,'' he said.

Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford said a ''warrant of fitness'' Bill to change the Residential Tenancies Act would require landlords to meet certain standards for insulation and provide an effective heating source before a property was let.

''It won't make every house perfect but it will help. It is a big step to making sure people have warm, dry homes,'' he said.

Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith said the ''devil's in the detail''.

''Labour's simplistic warrant of fitness Bill lacks practicality.

''The Bill says each landlord has three years to insulate their house except in the event of a tenancy change.

''Every week there are thousands of properties that change tenancies. It would be a nightmare to say a moment that tenancy expires the home has to be insulated,'' Dr Smith said.

The Bill would take thousands of houses out of the rental market adding to the problem of shortages and rent increases.

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