If you own a rental property, it’s time to ensure that property meets the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development’s new Healthy Home Standards – which will become law later this year.
Developed to set minimum requirements to ensure New Zealand rental properties are warmer and drier for tenants, these standards aim to:
- Improve heating
- Improve insulation
- Improve ventilation
- Improve drainage
- Reduce moisture
- Stop draughts
Why are the Standards Being Introduced?
Close to 600,000 households rent in New Zealand – and research has shown that New Zealand’s rental housing is of poorer quality than owner-occupied homes, and that a significant proportion of those rental homes are well below the World Health Organization’s recommended minimum indoor temperature of 18°C.
By legislating nationwide Healthy Home Standards for rental properties, the Government aims to help improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders and their families.
What ARE the Healthy Home Standards?
In December 2017 the Government passed the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act Regulations 2017. This Act amended the Residential Tenancies Act – enabling standards to be established to make rental homes warmer and drier.
The standards cover six key areas in which many New Zealand rental properties currently fall short:
The main living area must have a fixed heating device that can heat the room to at least 18°C.
Ceiling and underfloor insulation must either meet the 2008 Building Code (see more about this below), or (for existing ceiling insulation) have a minimum thickness of 120mm and be in reasonable condition.
Ventilation must include open-able windows in the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms. Rooms with a bath or shower or indoor cooktop must have an appropriately sized extractor fan.
Rental properties must have efficient drainage, guttering, downpipes and drains.
If a rental property has an enclosed subfloor space, a ground moisture barrier must be installed where possible.
Any gaps or holes in walls, ceilings, windows, floors and doors that cause noticeable draughts must be blocked. This includes all unused chimneys and fireplaces.
What does this Mean for Landlords and Rental Property Owners?
Essentially, if you own a rental property, you’re responsible for ensuring that property meets the minimum requirements set out in the Healthy Homes Standards.
While compliance timeframes offer some leeway to help property owners correct any issues in order to adhere to the standards, owners are encouraged to ensure their properties are compliant as soon as possible.
From 1 July 2021, private landlords (and boarding houses) must ensure that their rental properties comply with healthy homes standards within 90 days of any new tenancy. Housing New Zealand houses and registered Community Housing Providers will have until 1 July 2023, and ALL rental homes must comply with the healthy homes standards by 1 July 2024.
Rental property owners that fail to comply with the Healthy Homes Standards within these timeframes may be liable for a financial penalty.
How JMW Electrical can Help
Looking for a reliable, professional team to help you get your rental property’s heating and ventilation up to standard? JMW Electrical Services has a thorough understanding of the new standards, allowing us to best assist those of our clients who own Christchurch rental properties.
- Inspect your current methods of heating and ventilation to let you know if they already meet the standards
- Recommend reliable and cost-effective appliances required to become compliant, such as
- Flat panel heaters
- Ventilation systems
- Extraction fans
- Take care of all installation professionally, and at a fair rate
Remember; as experts in all things electrical, we can also carry out electrical safety inspections, maintenance and repairs for your rental property – so contact our team for a no-obligation quote or to make an enquiry!