Amy is the head of news for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Editorial: Warm rentals good for all

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Amy Wiggins.
Amy Wiggins.

A new law requiring rental properties to be insulated will pay off for tenants and landlords in the long run - but there will be a cost for both in the short term.

The law change this week means rentals with no insulation will need to upgrade to 2008 standards by July 2019, unless it is physically impossible to put in ceiling and floor insulation.

Most Kiwis know what it is like to live in a cold, draughty, uninsulated house. It's almost like a rite of passage for young people studying or beginning work.

For most young people in their late teens and 20s it's no big deal.

Yes, it's unpleasant and you may get sick slightly more often but you survive.

I look back now and laugh at the times I would come home to our cold, uninsulated Auckland flat to find four girls snuggled up on the couch under blankets trying to stay warm.

Our unit now is not much better but we choose to bite the bullet and fork out the extra cost of running a heater - although getting up to a freezing house in the mornings is not pleasant.

That said, it's not hard to find out if a house is insulated when you're looking for a place to rent (the property manager should know but, failing that, a quick peer up into the roof space or under the house will give you a good idea) and then it's up to you to decide if you're happy to live there.

A cold, draughty house is not healthy for babies, kids, elderly people or those with certain medical conditions but unfortunately landlords are able to charge more for a well insulated place.

The new changes will mean eventually there will be very few rentals with no insulation so tenants will not have to make the choice between paying more for warmth or paying less to live in a colder house.

It will cost landlords to meet the new standards and they are likely to pass that on to the tenants in slightly higher rents - but a few extra dollars a week is surely worth it.

Landlords will be able to cover the cost in time and it will increase the value of the house for resale.

Yes there will be initial costs for tenants and landlords but in the long run it will be better for everyone.

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