I hereby give notice that an ordinary meeting of the Whau Local Board will be held on:

 

Date:††††††††††††††††††††††

Time:

Meeting Room:

Venue:

 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

6.30pm

Whau Local Board Office
31 Totara Avenue
New Lynn

 

Whau Local Board

 

OPEN ADDENDUM AGENDA

 

 

MEMBERSHIP

 

Chairperson

Catherine Farmer

 

Deputy Chairperson

Susan Zhu

 

Members

Derek Battersby, QSM, JP

 

 

Ami Chand, JP

 

 

Duncan Macdonald, JP

 

 

Ruby Manukia-Schaumkel

 

 

Simon Matafai

 

 

(Quorum 4 members)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glenn Boyd

(Relationship Manager)

Local Board Services (West)

 

 

Riya Seth

Democracy Advisor

 

14 August 2015

 

Contact Telephone: (09) 826 5103

Email: riya.seth@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Website: www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

 

 


Whau Local Board

19 August 2015

 

ITEM†† TABLE OF CONTENTS††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† PAGE

33††††††† Healthy Rentals Housing Quality Improvement Project†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 5 ††

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Whau Local Board

19 August 2015

 

Healthy Rentals Housing Quality Improvement Project

 

File No.: CP2015/16943

 

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Purpose

1.†††††† The purpose of this report is to request approval for funding to be allocated for the Healthy Rentals Housing Quality Improvement Project.

Executive Summary

2.†††††† The Whau Local Board has a priority to improve housing quality in rental properties by initiating and implementing a multi-pronged Healthy Rentals Housing Quality Improvement Project to achieve positive housing outcomes for tenants.† There are increasing numbers of rental households in the Whau and many people are living in sub-standard housing. This is evidenced by local households recently surveyed in the Glenavon area of the Whau who indicated significant problems with damp and cold houses including health issues.

3.†††††† Following the successful Maungakiekie-Tamaki Housing Quality Project, a Healthy Rentals Project was developed along similar lines to be managed and delivered through the Community Development and Safety (west) team in the Whau Local Board and Henderson-Massey Local Board areas.

4.†††††† Funding had been endorsed by the Whau Local Board for work to develop and deliver this project.† A full update was requested following the announcement of proposed regulatory changes to the Residential Tenancies Act in late 2015 that will require private rental properties,† (with some exceptions) to have a basic level of insulation and smoke alarms installed by 1 July 2019.

5.†††††† Discussion on the implications of the proposed new regulations for current Healthy Rentals Housing Quality Improvement Projects has taken place with other key parties. These include the project manager for the Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Boardís Healthy Rentals Housing Quality Improvement Project, the Council Eco-advisor and Environmental Services.

6.†††††† All stakeholders are agreed and advise that project delivery should continue at this stage as there is likely to be little or no immediate improvement in the level of rental housing insulation, at least until the proposed legislation is enacted later this year. The intent of this project is to focus specifically on current unmet needs to provide immediate benefits for vulnerable tenants living in poor conditions.

7.†††††† The Healthy Rentals project also takes a comprehensive approach to assessing and addressing health and safety issues with tenants and landlords.† This approach goes beyond basic insulation compliance by landlords and helps build a culture of good practice, as well as encourages sustainable behaviour change by tenants.

 

Recommendations

That the Whau Local Board:

a)††††† Agrees to fund $25,000 for Year 1 of the Healthy Rentals Housing Quality Project from the 2015/2016 Whau Local Board budget.

b)††††† Undertakes a review in December after the proposed new legislation is enacted and the project evaluation is completed.

c)††††† Delegates the housing portfolio holder to approve any significant changes to budget allocation identified during programme delivery.

 

 

Comments

Background

8.†††††† The Whau Local Board identified quality rental housing as a priority in the Local Board Plan, and particularly signalled its intent to:

∑†††† encourage more landlords to maintain good minimum standards and take up the support available to install insulation and improve energy efficiency, thereby enabling more tenants to have healthy, efficient and safe homes

9.†††††† There are increasingly high levels of rental tenure in the Whau Local Board area.† Over half of the residents in Glenavon, Kelston, New Windsor, Avondale and New Lynn households live in private rental properties (Census data 2013 www.stats.govt.nz )õ.†

10.†††† Interim results of a Clean Air household survey undertaken for the Whau Local Board of over 128 households (61% rentals) in the Glenavon area in July 2015 found that close to 20% of rental households reported their homes were cold, damp and uncomfortable with 30% reporting that they were hard to keep dry. Approximately 38% of those surveyed also identified someone in the household suffering from a respiratory illness or problems related to cold and damp conditions. (Ecological Assiciates July 2015) reference?)

11.†††† A New Zealand- wide Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ House Condition survey in 2011 reported:

∑†††† Nearly twice as many rentals were in poor condition compared to owner-occupied houses including:

o More evidence of damp and mould in rental housing

o Higher fire risk in rental housing

∑†††† The temperature inside New Zealand houses is on average 12 in winter, which is 6 colder than the World Health Organization recommended minimum of18,and optimum of 21† for houses where there are babies and elderly residents

∑†††† International and national research studies have shown a strong link between living in cold damp houses and the health of residents, including higher mortality rates from heart and lung disease in the elderly, increased respiratory problems in children and more household illnesses overall

∑†††† Research studies have also demonstrated the value of insulation and clean heating schemes in improving health outcomes and energy efficiency outcomes.

 

12.†††† In 2013, the Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board (MTLB) made a commitment to improve the quality of rental housing in its local board area and allocated budget in their local board plan to achieve this.† A pilot project was funded which supported landlords and tenants to improve rental properties through a process of property assessment, tenant education, recommendations for improvements, insulation and clean heating subsidies. The pilot was developed in accordance with Councilís Housing Action Plan and supported by the Auckland Property Investorsí Association, landlords, Smart Energy Solutions, and the New Zealand Green Building Council. It also helped inform those working on developing a nation-wide rental Warrant of Fitness (WoF) tool and methodology.

13.†††† From 2013-2015 over 70 properties in the MTLB area were assessed and insulation installed in over 40 of these. An evaluation was undertaken that indicated the project had been successful in improving rental housing quality and landlord and tenant understanding of how to keep a house healthy and safe. There were many positive reports from tenants on the difference the insulation had made to their living conditions and from landlords on what they had learnt about what to do and look for in the maintenance of their rental properties.

14.†††† A Healthy Rentals Housing Quality Improvement Project plan and proposal has been developed by the Community Development and Safety team as part of the Whau local board work programme 2015/16.† This project will incorporate a number of learnings from the MTLB evaluation.† There will be close liaison and coordination between other Healthy Rentals Housing Quality Improvement projects i.e. the continuing MTLB project, a trial project in the Henderson-Massey Local Board area and a proposed new project by the Puketapapa Local Board.† It will also enable shared resource development e.g. fliers for promotion, education materials and evaluation as well as shared Healthy Rentals administration.

15.†††† In July 2015, the Government announced that it would introduce amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act to require private rental properties to be both insulated and have smoke alarms installed.† There will be some exemptions for properties where it is not feasible to install ceiling and underfloor insulation.† These changes will be introduced into Parliament later in 2015 with compliance required for smoke alarms by 1 July 2016 and for insulation by 1 July 2019. Landlords are also now required to provide information on the level of insulation in tenancy agreements. This is proposed to become effective from 1 July, 2016.

Discussion

16.†††† The proposed legislation is considered unlikely to have any significant short-term impact in improving living conditions for low income tenants over the next 12 months. The legislation is still to be introduced (late 2015) and landlords have four years to meet new insulation requirements (by 1 July 2019).†

17.†††† The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) strongly support Councilís Healthy Rentals initiatives and current EECA subsidies will also remain in place until 30/06/2016 in their present form.

18.†††† As indicated by the local board data in Glenavon, many renters are currently living in cold damp conditions and are experiencing health issues related to these conditions.† Any insulation installed now means immediate improvements and positive outcomes for tenants.

19.†††† The Healthy Rentals Housing Quality Improvement Project offers more than just an insulation scheme. It offers a thorough assessment and added value with a comprehensive education package and options for landlords and tenants to ensure healthy and safe homes that are both easy and difficult to insulate i.e. those that would be exempt under the new legislation.

20.†††† Proposed new insulation standards are likely to be set at a minimal level to the1978 standards. The Healthy Rentals project currently encourages insulation to be installed to the new build standard, providing for a far warmer house.

21.†††† Promotion of the Healthy Rentals Housing Quality Improvement Project will also help create momentum for increased housing improvements in tandem with the new legislation

22.†††† The Whau local board has currently allocated $25,000 for this work per annum for the next three years. A budget has been drawn up for 2015/16 to cover management, evaluation and insulaton subsidy costs as detailed in the budget in the project plan. It is proposed that this project continue as planned for the remainder of 2015 as per the project plan overview (Attachment A). It is suggested that this is reviewed after the new legislation is enacted in late 2015, when there will be more clarity about standards and the market response from landlords and insulation companies.

Consideration

Local Board views and implications

23.†††† The Housing portfolio holders have had briefings on this proposal and a specific Healthy Rentals workshop was a held with the Whau local board members on 29 July 2015. Their views have been incorporated into the project plan and will also inform the implementation of this project.

Māori impact statement

24.†††† This project does not specifically target the housing needs of Maori communities however according to 2013 census data 60% Maori living in the Whau live in rental housing.† National health data indicates that Maori are disproportionately hospitalised for respiratory illnesses, with twice as many hospitalised compared to the general population. Both international and national research studies report significant links between the effects of living in cold and damp housing and respiratory illnesses. The Healthy Rentals project will increase opportunities for promoting and improving living standards leading to better Maori health and wellbeing. This aligns with the outcomes of Councilís Māori Responsiveness Framework Whiria Te Muka Tangata to significantly lift Maori social and economic wellbeing, in particular the aspiration for manaakitanga. 

Implementation

25.†††† There are financial and implementation issues arising from the disestablishment of the Community Development and Safety Unit part-way through this project and the delay in project delivery getting underway. Transition arrangements for responsibility for this project will be made for the remainder of 2015 and for 2016 as part of continuity planning.

26.†††† As insulation installation is usually a seasonal business, with winter nearly over by the time the project budget is approved, fewer housing assessments are likely to take place. It is proposed to resume the project in May-June of 2016 to pick up any shortfall. Project progress will be reported monthly to the Whau Local Board Housing portfolio holders and will follow the Project Plan Overview.

27.†††† Any requests for variance will be made in writing to the Housing portfolio holders. Implementation and timeframes are outlined in the Project Plan Overview.

 

Attachments

No.

Title

Page

aView

Healthy Rentals Housing Quality Improvement Project Plan Overview

9

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Signatories

Authors

Kim Conway - Strategic Analyst Social Wellbeing

Authorisers

Graham Bodman - Manager - Community Development, Arts and Culture

Glenn Boyd - Relationship Manager Henderson-Massey, Waitakere Ranges, Whau


Whau Local Board

19 August 2015

 


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