Warm, dry, healthy homes are a trending topic as Labour’s Healthy Homes Bill awaits its passage through parliament. The new legislation will require landlords to provide healthy homes for tenants, but the landlord’s work doesn’t stop there.
David Kneebone, General Manager of Lodge City Rentals, gives his tips on educating tenants on home maintenance, for mutually beneficial outcomes.
Last week I read an article that piqued my interest. An Auckland landlord, who rented out his own home after living in it for a number of years, had run into some problems.
His tenants of six months, who moved in as soon as he moved out, had lodged a complaint that his property was cold, drafty and damp.
As it turned out, despite the landlord buying a heat pump for the house, the tenants weren’t using it because they ‘couldn’t afford it’ and condensation was dripping down the windows because they never opened them. You can imagine my condemnation.
A lot of reporting lately has placed emphasis and responsibility on landlords to provide healthy warm homes, often at considerable expense, but the problem can sometimes lie with tenants who don’t know how to live in a house properly.
The article reminded me of a similar case, where tenants complained of mould on the bathroom ceiling, but weren’t using the extractor fan or the window in the bathroom. One spray of exit mould and the ceiling was back to new!
But dampness, mould and mildew can be a big problem for rental homes, particularly for homes in Hamilton which is renowned for having very damp, wet winters. And it’s not uncommon for disputes to arise between landlords and tenants. But who is responsible for what?
Landlords: It’s your responsibility to provide a warm home
Tenants: It’s your responsibility to keep the house warm and dry
Warm and healthy homes are good for landlords too
Providing warm and health homes for tenants looks set to become law, but there are benefits for landlords too. Tenants are likely to stay longer in a rental property that’s warm and cheap to heat. This reduces the costs of high tenant turnover.
Tenants in a damp or cold home are more likely to suffer avoidable illness, often resulting in unplanned medical bills and time off work. Unexpected financial burdens like this may increase the risk of missed rent payments.
A rental property that is well-insulated and has energy-efficient heating and appliances is easier to market and can attract a higher rent. But remember to run through the checklist with your tenant on how to live in a house properly.