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Government to force private rentals to have adequate insulation and smoke alarms

Minimum quality standards for all New Zealand rental properties will be introduced by the Government after a damp home contributed to the death of a toddler.

The new rental standards won't go as far as a housing warrant of fitness, but will place requirements on landlords to insulate their properties and install smoke alarms, ONE News understands.

Two-year-old Emma-Lita Brown died in August 2014 after experiencing pneumonia-like symptoms that the coroner found was exasperated by a cold and damp Housing New Zealand property.

The home was insulated, as required with all state houses, but the toddler's family couldn't afford to heat it.

The death of Emma-Lita increased pressure for an introduction of a warrant of fitness for private rentals too, but Prime Minister John Key warned that "not only would rents rise but some landlords would pull out".

The Government is expected to unveil a compromise plan in the coming weeks, which would require rentals to have adequate insulations and smoke alarms.

But, landlords would have a grace period to renovate homes and there wouldn't be on-going inspections.

Labour leader Andrew Little was critical of the proposed plan and said "if they only go this far, it's pathetic".

Andrew King, of New Zealand Property Investors Federation, said insulation alone isn't the only answer and that some form of heating subsidy was needed.

The Government is set to introduce new standards requiring rentals to be insulated. Source: 1 NEWS


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