Click here to view the article on Housing New Zealand Corporation’s ‘Warrant of fitness’ initiative.
It’s great to see HNZC trialling a housing assessment approach that identifies houses that fail to meet a ‘warrant of fitness’. We have been working with a range of housing organisations over the years to identify the overall quality of housing using a very similar approach. As some of you will know, we’ve applied our planning process embedded within the software to many housing portfolios that has identified a range of 'fitness' issues across the industry – these processes are now being used by some of the largest housing providers in the southern hemisphere.
There is general acceptance across the industry that minimum housing standards or at least guidelines need to be set so that the health and safety items can be addressed and longer term costs can be more effectively managed. This makes good business sense and where most large scale housing providers do this, it's pleasing to see that the NZ industry is investigating the opportunity to provide a wider industry guideline or potentially a standard that may just make a real difference to many families across NZ.
Often a property owner will only do the works that they need to do rather than thinking long term and providing a safe, secure and healthy environment – we see that introducing a ‘fitness’ measure may just make property owners everywhere understand what is needed, what is really important and what can make a real difference to their tenants, their community and also, their rental returns. I think that this approach shouldn't be seen as a standard or a compliance requirement – it should be seen as the way that the country can enjoy a higher standard of living.
This is a great initiative by Housing NZ and it might just work – it will certainly make the rest of the world sit up and take notice.