Do Kiwis Live In 3rd World Homes?

Home Improvement

Landlords are busy checking out heat pump prices in Auckland, and as far as their tenants are concerned, that can only be a good thing. Now that the New Zealand government has been re-elected, the Healthy Homes Standards legislation will be enacted, introducing minimum standards for insulation, ventilation, moisture ingress and drainage, and draught stopping in rental properties. Plus, as you’d expect, heating. That’s why heat pumps in New Zealand are in hot demand right now.

The following timeline for Healthy Homes Standards will explain the rush:

  • All private rentals must comply within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy after 1 July 2021, with all private rentals complying by 1 July 2024.
  • All boarding houses must comply by 1 July 2021.
  • All houses rented by Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand) and registered Community Housing Providers must comply by 1 July 2023.

For many tenants living in rental properties, these deadlines can’t come soon enough. A lot of them are living in what can only be described as 3rd world conditions. Statistics New Zealand says that a third of older New Zealand homes (many of them are rental properties) are too cold in the winter. During 2018, they measured the temperature in 6700 New Zealand homes on four separate occasions: they found that 36 % of the houses were under 18 degrees Celsius during winter. Consider this against the advice from the World Health Organisation: they suggest that indoor temperatures should be 18 degrees Celsius at a bare minimum, and ideally, that temperature should be as high as 21 degrees in winter.

In the New Zealand study, temperatures were well off that mark. A third of the homes recorded an average temperature of just 16 degrees in winter. People living in these homes said they could see their breath inside during the winter months and 36% rated their house as “always or often cold.”

In these conditions, respiratory and cardiovascular issues are common. They threaten the young and the old in particular. The Healthy Homes Standards will, hopefully, go a long way to improving the health of many of New Zealand’s tenants by creating warmer living conditions. Something certainly needs to change. In New Zealand, rheumatic fever is rife. What is widely considered to be a 3rd world disease is common here like in no other developed country anywhere in the world. Rheumatic fever kills, on average, 130 New Zealanders every year, with  Māori and Pacific people making up 95 % of cases.

While we think of New Zealand as something of a lucky country, tenants living in cold and damp rental properties will disagree. For them, Healthy Homes Standards offer the prospect of providing a healthier indoor environment for their families. Heating is a key component of those standards, and Auckland heat pump installers are doing their bit to meet increased demand and make local rental properties better places in which to live.