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Warm Fuzzies for Johnsonville landlord and tenant

March 16, 2016

Warm Fuzzies for Johnsonville landlord and tenant

Johnsonville mum Tiriti Paikea is looking forward to a warmer winter after her landlord agreed to upgrade her rental home to improve the family’s health.

“Me and my kids are really happy that we’re going to be warm this winter,” says Paikea.

Paikea has lived at the home with her three kids, aged 7, 6, and 2 for about a year, and says last winter was difficult.

“It was really quite cold, we had the heater going all the time. The power bills were quite big, between about $300 and $500 a month.”

Paikea was using three electric heaters to heat the two-storey home, and there was so much moisture coming from the ground that the carpet was sometimes damp to touch.

All three of Paikea’s kids were sick with respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and asthma. Paikea was referred to Warm Fuzzies, a Sustainability Trust-run programme which supports families with housing-related health issues to improve their homes.

An advisor assessed the house and then prepared a report for landlord, Tong Liu.

Healthy Homes manager Miranda Struthers says it’s encouraging when landlords take on the recommendations.

“We advocate for tenants on ways the landlord can improve homes for their tenants’ health as well as upgrade their asset. It’s often hard to engage the landlord as there are currently no minimum standards for housing. The proposed Residential Tenancy Amendment Bill is a start, but it needs to go much further to ensure families have healthy, warm rental homes.

“When a landlord like Tong comes along and is so eager to help out his tenants, it’s really great.”

Long-time landlord Tong Liu says he had not realised how cold the home was in winter time, and when Sustainability Trust advised of their findings in the home he jumped to action.

In the last two months he has installed underfloor and ceiling insulation, a heat pump, ground vapour barrier, tracks over the windows so Paikea could get curtains from the Wellington Curtain Bank, hot water cylinder wrapping, as well as smoke alarms.

“I really feel landlords should take responsibility and look after their tenants. It’s a moral issue,” says Liu.

Liu was able to access some government subsidies so he could get the work done straight away, but says if the subsidies hadn’t been there he would made changes step-by-step.

The Warm Fuzzies assessment had been very helpful in laying out the plan of attack needed, and given him a great place to start, he says. Read more about the Warm Fuzzies programme here.




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