Healthy Homes Requirements for Landlords
The Residential Tenancies (Healthy Homes Standards) Regulations 2019 (Healthy Homes Standards) applies to rental properties in New Zealand. Landlords need to ensure that their rental properties comply with the Healthy Homes Standards to the greatest extent reasonably practicable, otherwise they can be subject to significant fines.
Subject to certain exemptions, from 1 July 2021, rental properties must be compliant with the Healthy Homes Standards within 90 days of the start, or the renewal, of a tenancy. This means landlords should be familiar with their obligations and turn their minds to whether or not their rental property meets the requirements. We encourage landlords to consider the Healthy Homes Standards early to ensure they provide healthier, safer properties and enjoy lower maintenance costs for their investments.
What are the key requirements?
Amongst other things, some key requirements imposed on landlords include:
- Homes must have a qualifying heater installed that can heat the main living area to a minimum of 18 degrees. This cannot be an open fire or an unfluted combustion heater.
- Homes must have adequate ceiling and underfloor insulation, at a minimum. The extent of such insulation is dependent on the climate zone of the property, as detailed in the below image. There are some exceptions to the insulation requirements, such as limited access space or health and safety.
- Homes must have efficient drainage for the removal of storm water, surface water, ground water, and appropriate outfall. The drainage system must include gutters, downpipes and drains for the proper removal of water from the roof.
- Homes must have adequate ventilation. The regulations require each habitable space to have at least one qualifying window or door. Each kitchen and bathroom should have an extractor fan installed unless it would be impracticable to install.
- Landlords must ensure that homes have no unreasonable or unnecessary gaps and/or holes in walls, ceilings, windows, skylights, floors and doors which would cause a noticeable draught indoors. The age of the home is not an acceptable reason or excuse if there are such faults at the property.
If a landlord does not comply with the Healthy Homes Standards, a tenant can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a monetary order and/or a work order. The Tenancy Tribunal may award damages to the tenant and a financial penalty of up to $4,000 against the landlord.
It is important to ensure that rental properties are compliant with the Healthy Homes Standards. If unsure from a practical perspective, landlords can engage a specialist agency to complete a healthy home compliance assessment on their rental property.
Want to find out more?
Whether you are an existing owner, tenant, or proposed investor of any rental property, we are here to help. Get in contact with one of our property team today.
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