Harden Up Mate: Kiwi Houses Exposed as Health Risk

Expats and other new arrivals, myself included, are or were often unpleasantly surprised by the poor quality of New Zealand houses, especially when, like myself you come from a central heated and double glazed home in Europe or the US. Looking out my window seeing the neighbours’  windows covered with condense and similarly the same situation in our own bedrooms, it is not a pretty sight. More importantly it seems like the standard and it poses a risk for your health. My impressions are not anecdotal.

Basics such as insulation, draft proofing, efficient and all over the house heating systems appear almost to be a luxury reserved for those that do not have the required toughness to make it through the winter in a singlet, a pair of gumboots and shorts or if you are one of the softer types pants, sweater, shoes, jacket and if you are really a softy a thermal. I have often wondered if the way traditional kiwis live and dress may be associated with the strikingly high number of people carrying around a puffer.

According to a recent survey by the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development, “more than a million himes are not adequately insulated, and from a further survey it transpire that more than 400,000 homes could actually “be making their occupants sick, some seriously.”

From a survey of over 3,500 New Zealanders about the state of their homes it transpired that:

  • 45% of existing homes are mouldy
  • 16% of homes have no insulation whatsoever
  • 21% of the people between 18 and 24 claim that their home is cold and uncomfortable
  • Almost 66% of New Zealand homes were built before insulation became a legal requirement in 1979
  • More that 25% of the New Zealand’s homes could actually be making the occupants ill

I guess that is something to think about when you arive here as an expat and are looking for a home. And remember, as an expat, renting a home you are usually liable for costs such as electricity. at the same time there is no onus on the landlord to have a certificate of energy efficiency, gas safety or electrical safety. On the other hand, asking direct questions about these matters to the landlord or agent about these matters, requires them to truthfully answer them.

The full report of the NZBCSD can be read here >>>

More information on tenancy can be found here >>>

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