Healthy Homes Contributing To Rent Rises
January 9, 2022

This article was prepared by Evan Harding of the Southland Times and also posted on – Healthy homes contributing to rent rises: Property manager |

The Government’s healthy homes legislation has resulted in improved living conditions for many renters in Southland.

But it has also contributed towards rent rises for those tenants, an Invercargill property management business owner says.

Leeann Tautari started her own property management company, Rent South , with her shift into business ownership coming at a time of big change in the industry.

“The industry has changed greatly in the last two years with [legislation] making it quite difficult for landlords and property investors,” said Tautari, who previously worked as a rental manager at Southland Real Estate for 19 years.

The healthy homes legislation meant landlords had to meet minimum standards for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage when renting out their properties.

The additional compliance costs on landlords, coupled with rental property demand outstripping supply, had resulted in rent rises for many tenants.

A Great South report, released in October 2021, said between 2018 and 2021 median rental prices increased 40 per cent in Invercargill, from $250 to $350; by 45 per cent in the Gore district, from $220 to $320; and by 66 per cent in the Southland district, from $220 to $365.

Tautari said the quality of Invercargill’s housing stock had improved as a result of the new healthy homes legislation, with landlords “getting in and making the changes”.

“They have to embrace it … they have until July 2024 to have the house compliant, unless they have a change in tenancy, and they’ve got 90 days to activate the healthy homes.”

She hadn’t had many landlords exiting the market due to the healthy homes requirements.

But many were now using property managers to look after their properties instead of doing it themselves, given the extra complexities and increased fines for not complying, she said.

And landlords in the south had found it challenging getting tradesmen to do the work in the past year while stock was hard to come by during the pandemic.

Tautari said there were a lot of people looking for houses to rent in the south, as evidenced in the Great South report which said the region had a housing deficit of nearly 1700 homes.

She had noticed more people arriving from other parts of the country to live and work in Southland, but while good for the region, there was not enough housing stock.

“I field calls every day, I can’t keep up with the demand,” she said.

“There’s a long list of people coming to the viewings … they feel like they are missing out but I tell them not to give up, keep going, and I try to talk to them about why they are missing out.”

With it now being “harder” for landlords to get tenants out of their properties, they were doing more background checks to ensure they got the right people in.

She had noticed less complaints about the behaviour of tenants of late, she said.

“It’s hard to find rentals so you have to look after them.”