State tenants living in cold, damp houses

TVNZ ?reports that state tenants struggle with keeping their houses warm too: quote:

State housing tenants are resorting to bubble-wrapping windows, using ovens as heaters and sleeping in one room to stay warm – because they say the heaters provided are simply not suitable.

Social housing providers have installed tens of thousands of 2000 watt electric convection panel heaters in state houses, but tenants complain they are not fit for purpose.

Even when curtains and windows were closed and the houses were insulated, they could not get their houses warm, tenants have told RNZ. end quote.

Oh, this is delicious. After all the beating up on private landlords, it turns out that state tenants are living in houses that are too cold and keeping the curtain closed (and the windows shut no doubt) will only cause dampness and issues with mould. quote:

The manufacturer, which RNZ has chosen not to name, said there was nothing wrong with its heaters and there was more likely to be issues with insulation or the way tenants were using the heaters.

It said all electric heaters of the same wattage in a similar sized space would heat the room in the same way. end quote.

It is common for tenants not to use heaters because of the power cost, so that may be part of the problem. However, that does not seem to explain it entirely. quote:

One woman, who RNZ will call Mary, lives with her grandchild in a Housing New Zealand house in West Auckland.

Despite it being a sunny and warm day outside, inside the house is cold and damp. Mary is wrapped up in a heavy wool coat and warm socks.

On the living room wall is an electric convection panel heater.

Mary said she tried using it to heat the living room but it had taken too long.

“It took about three days to even get warm slightly and it certainly doesn’t warm the room it’s in.” end quote.

This really doesn’t seem quite right. There has to be something wrong here. quote:

Mary said she told her HNZ tenancy manager that the provided heater was ineffective in the space.

“I think HNZ should set the example of doing thing right by their tenants.

“Without adequate heating, people are getting sick.” end quote.

State housing tenants are getting sick because of inadequate heating? No… that only happens in private rentals… quote:

Karina Tipene, another HNZ tenant, has lived with her extended family in a 5 bedroom house in Pakuranga for 3 years.

“The heater installed here is not effective.

“Even if we were to close all the doors and block everything off, there’s no heat there. You literally have to stand in front of it before you can feel something.”

Ms Tipene asked for a heat pump but was denied.

“If you could have one central heat pump to warm up the house, children would be comfortable to sleep, you’d be comfortable sleep – it would be just perfect.

The family has stopped using the heater and instead are layering up on clothing and turning on the oven.

The cost of heating was not worth the heat output, she said.

Instead, children all slept in the lounge together to stay warm.

“They’re asthmatics, I have heart failure and asthma, but there’s not much we can do in terms of staying warm,” Ms Tipene said.

Ms Tipene said the house was damp. end quote.

Oh no! Damp too! A private landlord would be fined for all of this. quote:

Another tenant lives in Glen Innes with her intellectually disabled family member in a home run by Tamaki Regeneration.

She said the provider finally installed a fan heater after she kicked up enough of a fuss.

Until then, there was just the electric convection panel heater.

“We have quite a large lounge and dining area and it just absolutely gives no heat whatsoever.

“There’s no point in putting it on because it doesn’t heat the room it’s supposed to heat.” end quote.

It is not funny, of course. These heaters will all be pulled out, at a massive cost to the taxpayer, and replaced with heat pumps. All 2000 or so of them.

It is very interesting to note that even Housing New Zealand, with all their resources at the taxpayer’s expense, cannot keep their tenants sufficiently warm and dry.

Private landlords will soon be facing fines for failing to adequately insulate a property, and there are proposals to force landlords to provide some form of fixed heating but if Housing New Zealand can’t do the job properly, why are private landlords being treated so badly by comparison?