B31 - Repairs and Maintenance

Surveys of house conditions in New Zealand have consistently shown that householders often believe their homes to be in a better state of repair than they actually are.

Many people spend nothing on or put off important repairs and maintenance. The surveys also show that some important features of older people's homes, for example, ceiling insulation, windows, roof cladding and steps/ramps, are in poor condition.

There is a tool that can help you identify what needs to be fixed around your home and suggests options for getting the work done well. The tool helps separate essential, 'must do' jobs from nonurgent or 'nice to do' jobs. It also gives tips for making your home safer.

There is also a technical version of the tool for landlords and property managers. It includes home diagnostics and an electronic spreadsheet with suggested priorities and costing information. Both tools can be downloaded from Good Homes for Good Lives, Tools for You. See: http://repairsandmaintenance.goodhomes.co.nz/tools/

Pros

Cons

What do I need in order to take this option?

Financial assistance

If you are a home-owner and receive a benefit, pension or New Zealand Superannuation, you can apply to Work and Income for financial assistance for essential repairs and maintenance, for example, repairs to a hot water cylinder, roof, paths or plumbing. Generally the assistance is limited to a maximum of $1,000 (in 2016). To be eligible, you need to provide information about income and assets and evidence that you have applied to a bank or other provider for assistance but your application has been unsuccessful.

Veteran's Affairs operates the Veteran's Independence Programme, which offers a range of maintenance services including window cleaning, gutter cleaning and house washing services.

The Maori Housing Network has funds available for community housing repair programmes for whanau.

Members of Grey Power or the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association (RSA) may be entitled to discounts on products and trades services. Check with your local branches.

Several banks offer 'reverse mortgage' or home equity release loans. These can be used to fund home repairs and maintenance. See B24 Reverse Mortgage / Home Equity Release.

Could this option limit my future choices?

No, in fact, it will generally allow you to stay in your home longer. It will also preserve the value of your home, which is an advantage if you need or want to sell in future.

For more information