Govt says its taking responsibility as landlord seriously

By Moana Makapelu Lee

While landlords could soon be obliged to ensure rentals are warmer, Housing Minister Phil Twyford says the government is taking it's own responsibility as a landlord seriously.  

The government says they are looking to improve state houses. This comes after Twyford's recent announcement on proposals to make rental homes warmer and drier.

"Housing NZ is looking to spend more than $130 million bringing the state houses up to standard.  About $90 million of that is going to be spent on putting heat pumps into state homes so the government takes it's responsibility as a landlord very seriously."

Yesterday Twyford announced new proposals for rentals that could include mandatory heating for bedrooms, upgrades to ceiling and flooring insulation and blocking unused fireplaces and gaps.

"State housing and houses in the private rental market are going to be subject to the same set of standards," says Twyford.

Earlier this year state houses came under the spotlight after Māori doctor Lance O'Sullivan challenged the minister after witnessing the shocking living conditions of a young mother and her two sons in their state house.

Video footage recorded by O’Sullivan revealed water pouring from the ceiling while mould covered the walls in the boy’s bedrooms.

Twyford says, "I would note however that while everyone has been very critical of some of the standards of state housing over the years actually state houses are by-and-large in better shape than the bottom end of the private rental market."

Some private landlords are not happy with the government's decision to improve warmer rental homes with concerns it will only lift rental prices.