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Thread: Damp homes and Condensation - rental market

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Damp homes and Condensation - rental market

    We have been in our rental for four weeks now and it has made me quite ill.

    Dampness and condensation is a major problem, and there is no ventallation or heating in our main bathroom (a major contributor). We pay 550 dollars a week. Unfortunately I have signed the contract until February and it does not look like we can get out of it.

    We as of yesterday have a dehumidifier and it has produced a gallon or two, in the last 24 hours. I am hoping it gets better for us here.

    Be very careful renting, check out heating and ventillation. NZ is famous for sqeazing the last dollar out of everything, so maintenence can be a problem.

    The gas fire was not lighting very well, so I got someone round to check it out as I was worried about carbon monoxide poisoning. Not sure if there are any legal requirements in this area.

    I really miss my dry home in the UK complete with unthreadbare carpets and central heating and properly maintained, e.g. no leaking taps.

    Be careful that you do not become trapped into a lease, where the environment is a threat to health as you could become ill and unable to work and possibly derail the whole project.

    Nothing worse than suffering from colds, flu and bronchitis whilst trying to pick up the new ropes of a challenging and very demanding job.
    Last edited by Rabbit; 11th June 2006 at 07:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    earth
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    Default

    Sorry to hear about your damp rental, it must be hard to live in. I don't know anything about getting out of a lease here but maybe someone else will know something. For what it is worth, there are warm dry houses available here, at least when you purchase, don't know about rentals. It really makes a big difference having a house you are comfortable in and I hope this does not make you too miserable.

    Best of luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    UK>Welly>Boonies>where next?
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    Rabbit

    Hi, not the best of welcomes to Welly is it? You do have rights though. Have you checked with the Dept of housing http://www.dbh.govt.nz/default.htm

    On there you have some pro forma letters etc, which are handy. The landlord has 10 days to rectify faults (I think) or you could break your tenancy.

    I'm not sure on the gas regs here in NZ, but the landlord must have the date of the last service?

    Your landlord should allow you to break your tenancy if you find someone else to take over your lease. Most landlords allow this. You could then advertise your place as an 'x month let' on TM or Dom post. Ok this will cost about $50 but your health is worth more.

    Where are you in Welly? Is your landlord an agency or private landlord?

    We had some issues with problems left by the last tenant here. The landlord didn't respond to our calls etc as quickly as we would have liked, so we whacked in a breach of tenancy letter as found on that site and they were round the next day!

    Our bedroom is the only room that really suffers from condensation and as I suffer from rhinitus and sinusitus badly, it can be hell, so I really appreciate how you are feeling.

    If I can help further please PM me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Shropshire, UK
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    Smile

    Hi Smiler, thanks for the advice and sympathy

    We are up in Khandallah and we have rented the property with an agent.

    After getting heavy with them e.g. threatening legal action. The washers in the two dripping taps have been replaced and it no longer takes the strength of an ox to turn them on.

    The dehumidifier is humming away, I guess it will take a few days to dry the place out.

    I found the conservatory roof drain was blocked causing an overflow of water so I have managed to fix that.

    There still no ventillation / heating in the bathroom - apparently not a legal requirement, but for most civilised people, pretty basic.

    Advertising to find a new tennant whilst possible, I would not like to inflict these experiences on others.

    Our furniture will turn up in the next few weeks and I guess we will have an extra removal charge if we do not stay here after feb (assuming we survive that long).

    I guess the moto of the story is be very careful when signing agreements and even if the property has a million dollar view, do not overlook the basics. Because of our pet and the challenges of renting, I perhaps was not as cautious as I should have been.

    In hindsight, I would have perhaps tried to rent someones home who was off to Australia or the UK, rather than a rental which is essentially an investment property where every last drop of the asset is being sweated - an NZ speciallity.

    Interestingly, they asked me to sign the inventory checklist before moving in or inspecting the property, suggesting I mail it back with any amendments. If you are put in this position do not fall for it. The initial lease was supposed to be for six months and the time of signing they said they wanted 9 months. The availability of a fridge was dropped at the last minute.
    Last edited by Rabbit; 11th June 2006 at 08:50 PM.

  5. #5
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    Hi Rabbit

    If you have another prob, don't bother threatening legal action, just use the pro forma letters on the govt website and hand deliver or send it track and trace. That seems to scare agencies more for some reason.

    I've every sympathy for you with the furry kids though, that makes it more difficult to rent a place.

    I've forgotten the technical reason but I think the gas fire produces more condensation than say a wood burner or electric rad, not that you have any choice at the moment though.

    You could always re-let the property to someone who is not bothered by the condensation prob and who has perfect sinuses. If you are going to do that, do it sooner rather than later, otherwise you will have the extra expense of moving your container load of UK stuff.

    We are also the kind of tenants that are happy to do minor repairs rather than call the agency out, just make sure you still let them know you have done it AND have saved them money.

    I would agree, it is difficult when you first arrive and are unaware of the down side of places. We looked at a good few rentals and said no to loads as they were on the wrong side of a hill etc. Luckily OH is handy with a compass etc, left to me I would have taken the cute cottage on Worser Bay, where the sun shows for 90 mins in winter and my extremities would have dropped off by now.

    I hope things get better for you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Akl
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    Default Rental Moisture Masters

    Hi there,

    All your comments are right on the money, a person emigrating (Not migrating) to NZ may be put off by comments like this. NZ has one of the worst cases of Asthma and Chronic Sinusitis (I have this) in the industrialised world, sadly the UK is still worse.

    I make a living ensuring the sorts of things you describe are not a part of our home envelope system. As you are renting I make a few comments that might help:

    1. A portable Unflued gas appliance : GET RID OF IT! It is dangerous; it uses oxygen, generates huge quantities of water vapour and huge quantities of other stuff like carbon particles (Bad for asthma), and this does not include the fire/explosion risk of leaking gas cylinders in the house. These have been banned in most countries but not NZ.

    2. De-humidifier : Right on, set it to cycle though, remember the relative humidity changes with temperature, you will have to adjust it to the ambient temp. The best way if your house temp goes down, is to run it flat out for several hours then turn the control back until it just shuts off. It will cycle back on after a while and cycle off when it reaches that “reasonable” level and it can defrost if it has to.

    3. Power Attic Vents (like DVS): These can cost a couple of thousand bucks or more (I have no idea why as they are not complicated or rocket science) to get installed so an expensive option. However there is so much sun in NZ (Maybe not so much in Wellington ;-) that it can be beneficial. Remember they only work when the attic temp is warmer than the house, unless you include an optional a in-duct heater. Not a bad idea actually as it ensures warm dryer air (not always if its raining or foggy outside) You would need to get your landlord to sponsor this or:

    4. An Inverter Heat Pump, which will reduce moisture and heat the house for the lowest cost – outside the capital cost to install. Inverter heat pumps are ~4X more cost effective operationally than regular hesitance heaters. The low cost ones are typically R22 units like you can buy at the Warehouse or food stores, they are mostly being dumped because the R22 refrigerant they use is not eco (ozone) friendly and will be banned from sale soon. These will help, but remember they are not central heating (They cost about $12k installed) Or:

    5. Cheap Attic Vent: Bunnings and other building places offer a low cost vent for about $550. If your rental house has its attic access cover in a public area like a hallway, simply buy a piece of plywood or MDF, Min 13mm, and have the vent installed on it and the pickup point at the highest point the duct will reach. Put the current cover away, and take the vent with you when you leave. Powering the fan can be the most difficult, but not hard for a Sparky.

    6. Put a fan forced wall heater in the bathroom if it doesn’t have one ($25 at the warehouse ~ take it with you when you leave) , and always leave the window open after showering for at least 3 hrs, make sure the door is closed to the rest of the house. By law it must have a window or a power ext vent.

    7. If you have a gas stove (Avoid for same reasons as above) use the fan in the hood always when cooking. If you have an electric stove, use the fan when cooking moisture laden foods.

    The NZ government recommends a NZ house not drop below 16c (anywhere inside), use this when talking with your real-estate type. I personally think you can break your lease if they can’t provide a healthy home, as this is a realistic leasehold expectation. They won’t of course. So look around now if you feel you will be renting for the foreseeable future, as when you visit the homes, you can see how they are actually working in winter.

    Most Kiwis wear their cold homes like a badge of honour , very misplaced and very 1960’s, especially in NZ where there is so much solar, solar energy is the single most under-utilised natural energy recourse in NZ. For example we can engineer one of our homes to require almost NO ancillary heat – ALL winter. The next one is going into Queenstown as a worst-case proof of concept house. With the ongoing escalating costs of energy at all levels, this has got to be a great long-term investment. It can be done to a new house but much more difficult to retrofit to an older house.

    Hope this helps. This is a nasty part of NZ culture that is beginning to get better, and because of this, it is what we are all about. When you home is warm and comfortable, this is a fantastic country!

    Cheers and good health

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    earth
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    Captnron,

    Nice post, thanks for all of that info! I really agree with your comments on Kiwis and cold houses. I think kiwis are becoming more aware of this and are starting to do more about it. At a gathering my wife was talking with others about heatpumps and it seemed like everyone (kiwis) was getting them installed.

    I also think it has a huge impact on your happiness/well being. We had that southerly queens weekend and a lot of people at work on Tuesday were talking about how cold it was and I reazlied what a different take you have when you can just stay inside, comfortably, watch a little TV or read a book. It is cold outside but not inside.

    Last story, we had some neighbours over and they came by (from 30 meters away) wearing jackets, hats, lots of warm clothing. They got inside and were a bit amazed when I was walking around barefoot with a thin long sleeved shirt on. They then started talking about getting heat. I think between more people heating here and people coming back from OE's used to being warm that this will be a big growth area in the next decade or so!

    When we moved here after reading all of the horror stories about being cold we decided this was a priority for us so I set asside a chunk of our housing budget to either retrofit a house and make it warm if we could not find a house that was already built that way.

    PS Wellington gets about as much (or more) sun than Auckland per year!

    Chris

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Gisborne NZ
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    Hi Captnron
    Some great advise which we shall be taking into account when we look at renting short term in Sept in Gisborne.


    Hope this helps you Rabbit
    Best of luck

  9. #9
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    Aug 2004
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    Manawatu - NZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by captnron
    Most Kiwis wear their cold homes like a badge of honour , very misplaced and very 1960’s


    When you home is warm and comfortable, this is a fantastic country!

    Cheers and good health

    This is sooooo true !!!! Very good thread.

    We have a 1910 Bay villa (relocated to present site 12 years ago). It is insulated to the max. Top, sides and bottom. We have a log burner the size of a mini cooper in the (open plan) living area and DVS leading to the far end of the house.

    This is a large 4 bedroom house with VERY high studs (ceilings to us Poms) and I have to report that we are as warm as toast. Dry too - no damp at all. I've said it before but I still hold true to the fact that the way to get a warm house in NZ is to insulate, insulate and then insulate abit more.

    Diny

  10. #10
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    Aug 2004
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    christchurch (formerly essex)
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    "Most Kiwis wear their cold homes like a badge of honour , very misplaced and very 1960’s,"

    very true statement. this type of thread comes up every winter, the houses for rental here are shocking but one of the main reasons for it is that a lot of New Zealanders live like that. Not all by any means but a lot of them have never lived in any other type of house. And the house that you look at in the late summer in the warmth somehow is sooo different in the colder weather. hope you sort the lease out.

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