The healthy homes standards, which became law in New Zealand on July 1, 2019, requires minimum standards for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture ingress and drainage, and draught stopping in rental properties.
The law came into effect when research found that a high proportion of the 600,000 rentals in New Zealand were of an inferior quality to owner-occupied homes.
With cold and dampness attributed to asthma, cardiovascular conditions and other illnesses, the healthy homes standards were primarily developed to improve health and wellbeing and reduce energy bills and medical costs.
Important legislation changes are due to take place from July 1 this year, with further amendments in place until July 1, 2024.
According to Tenancy Services, all private rentals must comply within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy after July 1, 2021, with all private rentals complying by July 1, 2024.
All boarding houses must comply by July 1, 2021. All houses rented by Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand) and registered Community Housing Providers must comply by July 1, 2023.
Landlord responsibilities: maintenance and improvement
Landlords are responsible for maintaining and improving the quality of their rental properties. These standards will help ensure landlords have healthier, safer properties and lower maintenance costs for their investments.
The standards will also make it easier for tenants to keep their homes warm and dry.
Current legislation standards
Ceiling and underfloor insulation are compulsory in all rental homes.
You should have attached an insulation statement to every tenancy agreement commenced after July 1, 2019.
In addition, you should have signed a statement of intent to comply with healthy home standards in new, varied or renewed tenancy agreements.
From December 2020, landlords should also have completed a form or a signed statement showing current levels of compliance with the standards.
Visit tenancy.govt.nz for more information about the Residential Tenancies Act.
Key amendments from July 1, 2021
Rental properties must comply with the healthy homes standards within 90 days of any new tenancy.
The standards include further requirements for insulation, ventilation, heating, draught stopping and moisture control.
For more information, see raisethestandard.nz.
Landlords and tenants should also sign up to tenancy.govt.nz/subscribe to keep up to date with the latest information, including details about healthy home standards.
How to maintain a healthy home
Keeping your dwelling of a healthy homes standard is a matter of ensuring that it is clean, dry, free of safety hazards, well ventilated, contaminant-free, pest-free and generally well maintained through regular upkeep.
A healthy home is designed, built, maintained and rehabilitated for good occupancy health.
Residents/owners and the built environment play a dual role in this process.
Does your rental comply?
A good way to check if you are providing a warm and dry home for your tenants is to get a professional HomeFit assessment.
A HomeFit assessment covers the health, comfort, energy efficiency and safety of New Zealand homes in a panel review.
The assessment takes 45 minutes to 1.5 hours and costs about $299 + GST. A healthy homes assessment, which checks your rental for standards compliance, costs about $199 + GST.
If your property meets the HomeFit standard, you will get a HomeFit certificate, which can be used to market your rental.
Visit homefit.org.nz to find out more.
(Source: Tenancy Services)