Rental Housing Warrant of Fitness

The rental housing Warrant of Fitness (RWoF) is an evidence-based housing quality checklist. There are 29 criteria, covering aspects such as ventilation, heating, safety and hygiene. These are considered to be minimum requirements for the health and safety of occupants.

In 2014, in partnership with five city councils, the Green Building Council and the Accident Compensation Corporation, He Kainga Oranga conducted a pre-test of a draft RWoF on 144 dwellings. This showed that all criteria could be easily assessed in a variety of dwellings.

Funded by the Health Research Council, we are now working with Dunedin and Wellington city councils on a project to assess the effects of implementing a RWOF on health and on the rental housing market.

Further information

See our News Page for some of the latest discussion of the rental WoF in the media.

University of Otago press release Rental Warrant of Fitness for Wellington 17th  August  2017.

University of Otago press release Rental Warrant of Fitness to start in Wellington and Dunedin, 17 December 2015.

Health Research council press release: Study to help improve New Zealand’s housing for children, 4 June 2015

Housing Warrant of Fitness (WOF) Assessment Manual

Rental WoF checklist for assessors

The implementation process, and about the case for a mandatory rental WoF, see the Rental WoF Background Paper.


Bennett, Julie, Elinor Chisholm, Rachel Hansen, and P Howden-Chapman. 2014. Results from a Rental Housing Warrant of Fitness Pre-Test. Wellington: He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme.

Bennett, Julie, Philippa Howden-Chapman, Elinor Chisholm, Michael Keall, and Michael Baker. 2016. “Towards an Agreed Quality Standard for Rental Housing: Results from New Zealand’s First Warrant of Fitness Pre-Test.” Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health. Published online 1 March.

University of Otago press release: ‘Warrant of Fitness’ for rental properties will soon be available, 2 August 2013

Gillespie-Bennett, Julie, Michael Keall, Philippa Howden-Chapman, and Michael Baker. 2013. “Improving Health, Safety and Energy Efficiency in New Zealand through Measuring and Applying Basic Housing Standards.” The New Zealand Medical Journal 126(1379): 74-85

Note: The rental WoF is based on a larger housing quality assessment tool – the Healthy Housing Index (HHI).