From 01 July 2019, ceiling and underfloor insulation is compulsory in all New Zealand rental properties, where suitable. In addition to this, landlords have just over two years to ensure rental properties meet the Government's healthy homes standards, the minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, and draught stopping in rental properties. Here’s what you need to know about insulation requirements and healthy homes standards.
Insulation is now compulsory in rental homes
The 1 July 2019 deadline has now passed and the healthy homes standards have become law. All rental properties must now have ceiling and underfloor insulation installed, and landlords who do not have insulation installed in the ceiling and under the floor, where it is practicable to install it, are committing an unlawful act and may be liable for exemplary damages of up to $4,000.
As well as ensuring that your rental property is properly insulated, it’s important you check that all new tenancy agreements include a separately signed insulation statement covering what insulation the home has, where it is, what type and in what condition it is.
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Healthy Homes Standards
The healthy homes standards (HHS) set out the minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, and draught stopping in rental properties and landlords have until 1 July 2021 to ensure their rental properties comply with the standards within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy.
Here is a brief outline of the standards:
- Heating - Living rooms must have one or more fixed heaters providing at least enough capacity to heat the room to at least 18°C and be capable of maintaining this temperature during the coldest days of winter.
- Insulation - The minimum level of ceiling and underfloor insulation must either meet the 2008 Building Code, or (for existing ceiling insulation) have a minimum thickness of 120mm and be in reasonable condition with no dampness, damage or displacement.
- Ventilation - must include windows or doors that open in each habitable space. The windows or doors must comprise at least 5% of the floor area of that space. An appropriately sized extraction fan or rangehood must be installed in rooms with a bath or shower or indoor cooktop.
- Moisture ingress - If a rental property has an enclosed subfloor space, it must have an on-ground moisture barrier, which will stop moisture rising into the home.
- Drainage - The standards reinforce existing law that says landlords must have adequate drainage and guttering.
- Draught stopping - Any gaps or holes in walls, ceilings, windows, floors and doors that cause unreasonable draughts must be blocked. As a part of this requirement, landlords will have to block the fireplace or chimney of an open fireplace unless the tenant and landlord agree otherwise.
From 1 July 2019, landlords will also be required to:
- keep records that demonstrate compliance with any healthy homes standards that apply or will apply during the tenancy; and
- include a separately signed statement of intent to comply with the Healthy Homes Standards in any new, varied or renewed tenancy agreement.
If you are considering buying a rental property or you are already a landlord with one or more rental properties, it’s vital you keep up to date with important information around legislation changes that affect your rental properties and tenancy agreements. Visit the tenancy services website for more information.
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