'Half the population is living in rentals that are making them sick' - calls for tighter housing regulations

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1 NEWS

It may be the way of the future, but rental costs have rocketed compared to the rate of the average wage, and there are calls for tougher protections for tenants.

Rick Zwaan from ActionStation says a recent survey reveals how poor quality homes are affecting the health of renters.
Source: 1 NEWS

Rick Zwaan from ActionStation has spent the past few months gathering renters' stories and reveals a disturbing picture of the sector in New Zealand.

"There are some pretty heart-breaking stories in there with people living in cold, damp flats and homes, unable to afford rent and keep the heaters on," Mr Zwaan told the Breakfast programme this morning.

ActionStation teamed up with Renters United to produce the People's Review of Renting survey which documents the stories of 200 people in rentals.

Mr Zwaan says the survey revealed that most renters say their homes are affecting their health and the health of their children.

"Half the population is living in rentals that are making them sick and they can't afford to pay rent and keep the heaters on.

"[Renting is] massively expensive. And what we see is people getting locked into homes that are unhealthy and making them sick and they can't afford to leave."

Mr Zwaan says the government has created some incentives to make sure landlords insulate their homes but believes this doesn't go far enough.

"What we've seen is successive governments taking a hands-off approach to the housing issue and what we need now is some stronger regulations there so people can live in a warm dry safe home."

Mr Zwaan says the survey showed renters would like to see a housing warrant of fitness brought in which would guarantee homes have heaters, insulation and ventilation.

They would also like to see landlords held to those regulations.

Mr Zwaan says he would like to see the tenures being secured so tenants can stay in their homes longer with greater protections placed around this.

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