Rental warrants identify risks

Safety initiatives are being developed for renters looking for a place to call home.

A nationwide "warrant of fitness" project aimed at making rental housing safer to live in was announced by the Auckland Council on December 17.

The trial will kick-start in January.

Home assessment experts will test 25 rental properties in Auckland and other cities against measures such as warmth, dryness, mould, injury risk, sanitation, basic state-of-repair and living needs.

Auckland mayor Len Brown says it is widely known that much of New Zealand's older housing stock falls below the building standards of many other OECD countries.

"The dampness of many of our older homes is well documented as contributing to respiratory and allergic disorders such as asthma and rheumatic fever," he says.

The field tests are an important part of standardising local government body checklists to ensure the credibility of the WOF scheme. Results are due to be published in March.

The tool was developed by the NZ Green Building Council and University of Otago (Wellington) with feedback from council and ACC.

ACC programme manager Megan Nagel says the company supports the trial as part of its focus on reducing injuries around the home.

The company developed a Healthy Home Checklist for people browsing for flats on the Trade Me website.

The checklist helps renters identify potential hazards in a bid to reduce the 1.7 million claims ACC receives every year for injuries at home.

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