WOF for rental housing is tested

Rental properties around NZ have been assessed in a test of a Warrant of Fitness designed to measure housing features that have an impact on health, safety and energy efficiency.

The Rental Housing Warrant of Fitness is based on over a decade of publicly-funded housing research and was developed by the University of Otago Wellington and the NZ Green Building Council in collaboration with five councils (Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin) and the ACC.

The trial aimed to test whether draft WOF checklists and methodologies were practical for landlords, assessors and tenants.

Of the 144 houses assessed, eight (6%) passed the WOF. If low-cost items were fixed – correct installation of smoke alarms, security stays on the windows, hot water at a safe temperature – 44 additional houses would have passed the WOF, which would have given a pass rate of 36%.

Dr Julie Bennett of the University of Otago said the trial was well-received by landlords, tenants and the assessors.

Most tenants (77%) supported the idea of a rental WOF. The main reasons were to improve house quality, improve health, keep ‘bad’ landlords in line, and improve tenants’ knowledge of the house before they moved in.

Three-quarters of landlords (76%) were satisfied that the WOF provided a fair and accurate assessment of the quality of the house. Over half the landlords (58%) learned about ways they could make the house drier, warmer or safer.

View the full report: Results from a Rental Housing WOF PreTest May 2014 (PDF)

In the media:

Trial shows value in rental housing WoF, Otago Daily Times, 16 May 2014

Rental-home failures trigger calls for action, NZ Herald, 16 May 2014

Rentals across NZ fail warrant of fitness, Stuff 15 May 2014

Radio NZ, 15 May 2014

WoF for houses: Radio NZ interview, 18 October 2013 and 7 March 2013