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August 21, 2017 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Voluntary WOF a Step in the Right Direction

The Wellington City Council (WCC) unveiled a plan on August 17 to launch a voluntary Warrant of Fitness (WOF) regime for rental properties in Wellington.

From August 28, landlords (and tenants with their landlord’s permission) will be able to request a full inspection of a property, conducted by a qualified building inspector in a manner similar to that for a vehicle WOF.

The inspection costs $250 and, if passed, the property receives a WOF that is valid for three years. The inspection has 29 criteria covering, for example, heating, insulation, structural stability, and ventilation. The WOF is an opportunity for landlords to demonstrate to renters that the properties they own are up to a minimum standard.

Mayor Justin Lester said that the WCC wants to lift rental standards in Wellington; “every Wellingtonian deserves a warm, dry home.”

VUWSA President Rory Lenihan-Ikin said that VUWSA supports “the new voluntary WOF as a step in the right direction,” but the “only real solution to cold and mouldy flats in Wellington is a mandatory rental WOF.”

The WCC intends to introduce a Wellington Housing Quality Standard into its Long Term Plan that will set a standard for properties, incorporating both personal health and earthquake resilience standards.

Deputy Mayor Paul Eagle said that data collected from the voluntary Rental WOF will help inform the permanent standard the WCC intends to introduce.

A VUW student, when asked whether the voluntary WOF would mean better quality flats for students, said “likely not.”

“The problem is that flats are hugely expensive at the moment and students have to settle for what they can get. And what they get are the run-down, damp, cold flats, and that’s all they can afford.”

Lenihan-Ikin said that while the voluntary WOF won’t “solve the problems faced by most student renters, […] it will start to familiarise people with the concept of a rental WOF, and help to make the transition to a mandatory one more smooth.”

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