Social housing  |  24 Jan 2020

Heat pumps will be installed in hundreds of social housing units across the city over the coming months as part of a major initiative to improve conditions for tenants.

Christchurch City Council and the Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust (OCHT) are working together to raise the standard of social housing in Christchurch.

Combined, the two organisations own about 2200 properties in the city.

“Our main focus this year is on improving the heating and ventilation in our units so that we can offer our tenants a greater degree of comfort over the colder winter months. Our goal is to ensure that all our tenants are living in homes that are warm and dry.

“We are working in partnership with the Council on roll-out of  this initiative and we are aiming to complete the work with the minimum of disruption to tenants,’’  says OCHT Chief Executive Cate Kearney.

The Warm and Dry initiative is being funded through a $10 million loan and $6 million from the Housing Development Fund.

Christchurch City Council Head of Facilities, Property and Planning Bruce Rendall says the 909 units that are exempt from the minimum insulation standards will be among the first to get new heat pumps and improved ventilation installed

“We will have multiple contractors working to upgrade existing heating with heat pumps by the start of the winter so that tenants of our coldest units can better heat their homes over the colder months,’’ Mr Rendall says.

“Where possible we will also install added insulation to those units. This will offer a warmer, drier living environment for tenants.

“We will work progressively through our social housing complexes, upgrading the heating and ventilation, with the goal of having all our properties compliant with the Healthy Home Standards by the end of December 2022,’’ Mr Rendall says.

The Healthy Homes Standards cover requirements around heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, and draught stopping. Registered Community Housing providers like OCHT have until 1 July 2023 to ensure all their properties comply with the standards.