A survey by AMI Insurance and Habitat for Humanity NZ has found that several hundred thousand homes across New Zealand are cold, damp and expensive to heat – conditions which the organisations have deemed “unacceptable”.
The inaugural Aotearoa Housing Survey revealed that 42% of households are worried about dampness in their home, while 16% said they go to bed earlier than usual to stay warm when it gets very cold in winter. Around 8% said they all stay in one room and only heat that room to stay warm when it gets very cold in winter.
The survey also found that almost one in three households (30%) need basic repairs done inside their home. Almost one in 10 households are concerned about significant mould in their home. For households that have significant areas of mould, 20% state that mould, dampness or condensation worsens the breathing of those living in the house. Private renters are significantly more likely to be concerned that their home is too cold compared to those who own their own home (60% versus 40%).
According to AMI and Habitat, the survey was commissioned as part of the three-year partnership between the two organisations. It provided them with crucial information to help understand the scale of the issues New Zealanders are facing, strengthen their response and help New Zealanders enjoy better living conditions, particularly in the colder months.
“Together with Habitat, we hope to help improve the living conditions for as many New Zealanders as we can,” said Alex Geale, AMI Insurance executive general manager, distribution. “This survey has helped us identify the key areas of focus, and given AMI sees a 60% increase in home claims over the winter period, it’s a particularly relevant time to be starting this conversation.”
“This research is a timely reminder that the rising cost of living is going to have a deeper impact on those households already struggling to make ends meet,” said Alan Thorp, Habitat for Humanity NZ group CEO. “As a community housing provider, Habitat’s goal is to make a positive difference for New Zealanders, especially those facing some of the biggest challenges the survey recognises, and we can offer practical steps Kiwis can take to protect their homes, whether they own or rent them.”