More landlords will sell up

Phil Twyford explaining why the derelict state house behind him should be kept for eternity.

I really cannot see any reason to be a private landlord these days. In a week where property investors have been targeted by proposals for the most punitive Capital Gains Tax in the world, the government has now come out with a raft of new rules for landlords. With the ringfencing of losses coming into effect on 1st April this year, and insulation requirements mandatory with effect from 1st July, landlords, who provide a special social service that the government itself cannot provide, must wonder what exactly they have done wrong.

It is time to stop wondering and time to sell up. This stuff really is getting silly now. quote.

New Government rules will require every rental home in New Zealand to have a heater in the living room and an extractor fan in the kitchen and bathroom.

The new requirements are part of the Government’s healthy homes standards, announced by Housing Minister Phil Twyford this morning.

From mid-2021, all rental homes will be required by law to have a heater that can heat a main living area to 18C. end quote.

Extractor fans in the bathroom… building regulations do not even require this, so long as there is a window that can be opened. quote.

Kitchens and bathrooms will have to have extraction fans or rangehoods and, where rental homes have an enclosed subfloor space, property owners will need to install a ground moisture barrier to stop moisture rising into the home.

Twyford said the new rules were some of the “most important public health changes the Government could make”.

“Nearly 600,000 households rent in New Zealand, and our rental stock is of poorer quality than owner-occupied homes.”
He said it was estimated about 200,000 families lived in rental homes that did not have ceiling or underfloor insulation.

end quote.

Hang on, Phil. They will have by July, as it is mandatory by then. quote.

A commitment to ending “energy poverty” by ensuring every New Zealander had a warm, dry, secure home was part of the Labour/Greens supply and confidence agreement. end quote.

Here is the problem with this policy. Even a well insulated house will be cold if the tenant does not turn on the heater. Energy poverty has more to do with the skyrocketing cost of power, made considerably worse by the government’s own energy policies. quote.

National housing spokeswoman Judith Collins said with the State House waiting list now topping 10,000 for the first time, the last thing the Labour Government should be doing was making it more expensive to rent.

“More cost on landlords will be passed on to tenants.” end quote.

Of course they will. It is madness to think otherwise. Instead of giving landlords incentives to upgrade their properties, all the costs will once again fall on landlords. Those that can recover the costs will do so. quote.

The new required standards
? Heating: Rental homes must have a fixed heating device that can heat the living room to 18C.

? Insulation: Ceiling and underfloor insulation must either meeting the 2008 building code, or have a minimum thickness of 120mm

? Ventilation: Windows in the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms must be operable and extractor fans must be in rooms with a bath or shower, on indoor cooktop.

? Moisture and drainage: If a rental property has an enclosed subfloor, it must have a ground moisture barrier if it’s possible to install one.

? Draughts: Landlords must stop any unnecessary gaps or holes in walls, ceilings, windows, floors, and doors that cause noticeable draughts. All unused chimneys and fireplaces must be blocked. end quote.

I feel for the tenants, many of whom just want a decent place to live. That is getting harder and harder, as this government rams its ideology down everyone’s throats, without a single thought for the effect it may have on people in the rental market.

This is what the politics of kindness looks like. I say you can keep it.