Warming homes a double act
Invercargill property managers say keeping rental properties in the south warm and dry is the responsibility of tenants and landlords.
Locations property manager Regan Thwaites said most of the landlords he represented were proactive about providing suitable heating.
Some tenants would claim the heating provided was too expensive and not use it.
Tenants needed to get budgeting advice and educate themselves on how to prevent their homes from becoming cold and damp, he said.
Southland Real Estate property manager Margaret Reynolds agreed, saying some tenants, particularly younger ones, had not learned important ways to to avoid making their homes damp or mouldy, such as regularly opening windows, and never drying washing inside, she said.
Ray White Real Estate property manager Jenny Dennis said not all houses in Invercargill were cold and damp.
"Some do need attention from the owners but it's about education. We live in a damp, cold place," she said.
If she was a approached by an owner with a property she thought was unfit to rent, she would try to work with them, she said.
A Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment spokeswoman said under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, landlords must ensure the premises are maintained and comply with all health, safety and building regulations.
However, tenants should also be careful when choosing a property and ensure there are no existing issues before signing a tenancy agreement, she said.
"Tenants are encouraged to find a property that not only meets their needs and lifestyle, but does not have any existing issues like [being cold and damp].
"Any defects or existing issues should be recorded in writing on the tenancy agreement - as should any agreement or time frames to get the repair work done.
If you don't like the condition of the premises, don't sign an agreement before the work has been done - or make the agreement conditional on the work being completed before you move in."
The Southland Times