“The NZ Property Investors' Federation promotes good maintenance of rental properties to its members. This makes good business sense as tenants of well-maintained properties are likely to stay longer, meaning lower vacancy rates,” says Andrew King, Executive Officer.
Results from the latest BRANZ Housing Condition Survey showed marginally lower levels of maintenance for rental properties. This finding needs to be put in perspective.
The first point is that while the results are interesting, the numbers surveyed were extremely small. Only 149 rental properties were surveyed which is less than 0.03% of all rentals in New Zealand. This means that each surveyed property was representing more than 3,000 actual rentals.
Researchers found it more difficult to recruit tenants into the survey, making the rental data less random and less representative of the true situation.
A second point is that high number of Housing New Zealand properties were surveyed, nearly twice as many as the actual proportion of HNZ rental properties in New Zealand. Additionally, the income distribution of those studied shows that there was a higher proportion of low income respondents.
Although not stated in the survey results, when these factors are combined, it appears that there was a higher proportion of lower income tenants surveyed compared to owner occupiers. This means it is likely that the rental properties surveyed are going to be more applicable to low income occupiers than the group of owner occupied properties surveyed.
Finally, the survey does not report on aspects of maintenance that are caused by the activities of the occupant - for instance drying clothes inside, keeping curtains closed during the day and using unflued portable gas heaters. These are types of activities that keep homes cold and damp and tend to promote mould growth.
Andrew King, NZPIF Executive Officer
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