The New Zealand government recently signed off on the Healthy Homes Standards legislation, becoming law on July 1, 2019. Kiwi tenants want to live in a comfortable, warm and dry home, and landlords are now legally responsible for maintaining the quality of their rental properties and enhancing home rental services. The new law outlines specific standards that will improve rental homes throughout New Zealand. We talk about what these new standards are and what effects these laws have on you as a landlord or a tenant.
What are the Healthy Homes Standards?
The Healthy Homes Standards introduce five new standards that aim to improve the quality of rental homes. The five standards cover requirements for heating, ventilation, draught stopping, moisture ingress, and drainage, as well as additional insulation. The objective of these standards is to ensure that landlords provide healthier, safer properties, and obtain lower maintenance costs for their investments. They also aim to help tenants to be able to keep their homes warm and dry.
When do property owners need to comply?
All rental properties need to comply by July 1, 2024, with all five standards. Harcourts Udy Realty property managers are now working towards having properties under their management become compliant, even before the deadline. Harcourts aims to comply as early as July 1, 2021, in order to protect landlords from periods of vacancy, and from having a limited time frame (90) days to get any work completed to meet the new standards.
For Landlords: What You Need to Do
With the new legislation, landlords must review residential rentals and make necessary changes or upgrades on their properties to comply with the following healthy homes standards:
- Heating – the main living area must have a fixed heating device that can heat the room to at least 18 degrees Celsius.
- Insulation – Ceiling and floor insulation must meet the 2008 building code of having a minimum thickness of 120 mm in reasonable condition.
- Ventilation – Rental homes must include openable windows in the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms. Bathrooms must have appropriately sized extractor fans.
- Drainage – Properties must have efficient drainage, guttering, downpipes and drains.
- Moisture – In cases wherein a rental home has an enclosed subfloor space, a ground moisture barrier must be installed.
- Draughts – Any existing holes or gaps in the walls, ceilings, windows, floors, and doors that cause noticeable draughts must be blocked. This also includes unused chimneys and fireplaces.
From July 1, 2019, all-new, varied or renewed tenancy agreements must include a separately signed statement of intent, to comply with the Healthy Homes Standards. This statement is in addition to the existing requirement to include a signed insulation statement. Harcourts Udy Realty is assisting landlords with preparing for these changes and has included a statement of intent in their tenancy agreement and ensures a separate statement included in renewal documentation.
For Tenants: What you need to know
In general, this legislation will protect tenants from living in less than quality living situations. According to Business.govt.nz, numerous rental homes in New Zealand are well below the World Health Organisation’s recommended minimum indoor temperature of 18 degrees Celsius. If you’re a tenant under Harcourts property management rentals, rest assured that the Healthy Homes Standards will be met in compliance with the new legislation. As an example, take the insulation legislation in 2016; Harcourts was able to complete and insulate partner rental homes of over 21,000 properties in July 2019.
Understanding Property Compliance
With all these changes to prepare for, Harcourts Udy Realty works hard to make sure that the property managers who partner with us are compliant with these new standards and that the tenants who rent under our properties are well-informed and well taken care of. For professional property management, contact Udy Realty today.