Almost 25k HomeFit assessments paint a grim picture of New Zealand's housing

03 December 2019

Almost 25,000 people have checked how warm, safe, and dry their home is in the first year of HomeFit

Launched in November 2018 by the New Zealand Green Building Council, HomeFit offers Kiwis a simple way of checking how healthy their homes are,as welling as offering possible solutions to tackle any issues.

Check out chief executive Andrew Eagles talking to John Campbell on TVNZ Breakfast

Since then 24,722 homes have been checked. Almost two thirds of those were homeowners looking to improve their houses.

Interestingly, landlords looking to either improve the home for their tenants or to meet their legal obligations made up just 10%. 4600 –or 19% of assessments – were renters wanting to know if a home was warm, dry and safe to live in.

Those legal obligations for the rental market are becoming more pressing through the Government’s Healthy Homes Standards. This year HomeFit has been adapted to ensure it’s in line with those standards and certification can be used as independent verification that a rental is up to scratch.

We know that many of New Zealand’s houses aren’t good enough. Recent census figures from Stats NZ show one in five homes are damp. Dampness and mould were particularly prominent in rental properties. One in ten renters lived in a home where mould over the size of an A4 sheet of paper was always present

42 percent of the homes who have gone through HomeFit had visible mould. It has also highlighted a raft of other areas which impact the health of occupants.

One in ten homes had no insulation in the space under their homes – making them less comfortable, colder, and more expensive to heat. 40% had holes or gaps in the walls, ceilings, floorboards or windows that let cold air in. Almost half could upgrade lights to LEDs

Worryingly 460 of the homes assessed still use dangerous unflued gas heaters, and 1589 had no smoke alarms.

2020 is a big year. In the face of these appalling statistics and the impact they’re having on New Zealanders, improving our building standards to ensure these shameful stats are a thing of the past must be on the agenda. The Healthy Homes Standards are a great step for getting our rentals in shape, we need health and energy efficiency checks for all homes.

Tackling these issues has not only health benefits and cheaper power bills for those residents, but improving efficiency is also an important step in reducing our emissions and meeting our climate change obligations.

Find out more about HomeFit and assess your home here.