Recent years have bought many significant changes in the requirements for rental properties. There are many opinions on the legislation and the time frames laid out. While it is true some landlords have found the investment a struggle to meet, ultimately, we must see the value in providing warm and safe homes for New Zealanders.
The healthy homes standards introduce specific and minimum standards for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture levels, drainage, and draught stopping in rental properties. The number of changes has left a lot of landlords unsure of their obligations and the timeframes.
Heating Standard: Landlords must provide one or more fixed heaters that can directly heat the main living room to a maintained temperature of at least 18 degrees Celsius.
Insulation: Ceiling and underfloor insulation has been compulsory in all rental homes since 1 July 2019, unless an exemption applies (or similar)). The healthy homes insulation standard builds on the current regulations and some existing insulation will need to be topped up or replaced. Existing ceiling insulation that was installed before 1 July 2016 must be at least 120mm thick) or consult a professional insulation installer.
Ventilation: Rental homes must have openable windows in the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms. Kitchens and bathrooms must have extractor fans.
- Mould and dampness caused by poor ventilation is harmful for tenants’ health as well as landlords’ property. The ventilation standard targets mould and dampness in rental homes.
- All habitable rooms in a rental property must have at least one window, door or skylight which opens to the outside and can be fixed in the open position.
- In each room, the size of the openable windows, doors and skylights together must be at least 5% of the floor area of that room.
Moisture Ingress and Drainage: Landlords must ensure efficient drainage and guttering, downpipes and drains. Rental properties with an enclosed sub-floor space must have a ground moisture barrier.
Draught Stopping: Landlords must make sure the property doesn’t have unreasonable gaps or holes in walls, ceilings, windows, skylights, floors and doors which cause noticeable draughts. All unused open fireplaces closed off or their chimneys must be blocked to prevent draughts. Fixing draughts is an easy way to reduce heating bills and keep rental homes warm and dry. Draughts increase the likelihood of lower temperatures in houses and can make it more expensive for a tenant to heat their home.
Ventilation: All habitable rooms in a rental property must have at least one window, door or skylight which opens to the outside and can be fixed in the open position. Rental homes must have openable window in the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms. Kitchens and bathrooms must have extractor fans.
- 1st July 2021 - Private landlords must ensure their rental properties comply with the healthy homes standards within 90 days of any new, or renewed, tenancy. All boarding houses must comply with the healthy homes standards.
- 1st July 2023 - All Housing New Zealand houses and registered Community Housing Provider houses must comply with the healthy homes standards.
- 1st July 2024 - All rental homes must comply with the healthy homes standards.
Ensuring all tenants have a warm and dry home is a priority for the Government, to help improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders and their families. It is the landlord’s responsibility to maintain and improve the quality of their rental properties if they do not meet these standards. The standards will help ensure landlords have healthier, safer properties and lower maintenance costs for their investments over time.
Information accurate at the time of writing (19th November 2019). We strongly recommend conducting further investigations if these regulations apply to you. Sourced from: