Wellington City Council will be the first in New Zealand to trial the warrant of fitness scheme for rentals but landlords have quickly shot it down as a waste of time and money.

The voluntary scheme will include an app that will allow tenants and landlords to check their house against minimum health standards. Landlords can then request a full inspection to ensure it meets minimum standards

“We want to lift rental standards in our city and make better accommodation available for people. Every Wellingtonian deserves a warm, dry home,” said Mayor Justin Lester.

The scheme, in partnership with the University of Otago, will kick off later this month.

The Property Investors’ Federation agrees with the sentiment that everyone should live in a warm dry home, but says making it easier and for landlords to insulate their properties and install efficient heating will be more effective.

“[It] would be of more benefit to tenants than employing an army of clipboard holders to inspect every rental property,” said chief executive Andrew King.

He cited the case of a two-year-old girl who died partly because her house was cold, despite the Housing NZ property’s insulation and heat pump meaning it would have passed a WOF.

“Targeting help for those families who actually have a health-related issue would have significantly better results for those in need,” Mr King said.

He also criticised students complaining they didn’t have the power to get out of cold and mouldy flats.

The average rent for central Wellington was $451/week but if a property had a heat pump the average asking price was $545/week.

“Students do have the ‘power to change’ but they may not want to pay the extra cost,” Mr King said.

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