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A new report reviewing rental housing conditions shows that many New Zealanders are living in substandard homes.
More than 600 New Zealanders contributed their rental experiences to the report by ActionStation and Renters United.
Seventy per cent of respondents said their rented homes had no ceiling or under-floor insulation, 52 per cent lived in rentals that were not weather-tight, and over 60 per cent said they did not have an effective heat source.
Wellington renter Renee Pearson said laws were needed to ensure rental properties were of a liveable standard.
"We shouldn't have to go to hell and back just to get a roof over our heads. Having something that's dry and warm, that's not a luxury or privilege, that should just be a basic human right," she said.
Ms Pearson said she viewed a rental where the smell of mould was so suffocating that even the property manager could not bear to go inside.
Public Health Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman said many renters were too scared to complain, for fear of eviction or rent rises.
ActionStation and Renters United are calling for a review of the Tenancy Tribunal and a Rental Warrant of Fitness and for the licencing of landlords.
By Rosa Woods