On 1 July 2019 the Residential Tenancies (Healthy Homes Standards) Regulations 2019
(Standards) come into force. The Standards set minimum requirements landlords need to meet for tenants in relation to heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage and draught stopping.
In this article we seek to dispel some of the myths and 'fake news' around this legislation to give you the run-down on what you'll need to do to meet the requirements.
The Standards aim to make it easier for tenants to achieve warmer and drier homes, which
consequently reduces the associated health conditions that arise from mould and dampness. This is a positive move for tenants and even though some landlords were already meeting this standard it helps bring everyone in-line with the new law.
Here's a brief breakdown of the changes:
All rental properties will be required to have the following:
- Heating: A heater that is capable of achieving a minimum temperature of at least 18°C that can heat the main living area.
- Insulation: Ceiling and underfloor insulation that either meets the 2008 Building Code insulation standard, or (for existing ceiling insulation) has a minimum thickness of 120mm.
- Ventilation: Openable windows in each habitable space and extraction fans or
rangehoods in kitchens and bathrooms.
- Moisture control and drainage: A ground moisture barrier installed if a property has an enclosed subfloor space to stop moisture rising into the home and adequate drainage and guttering to prevent water entering the home.
- Draught stopping: draughts to be blocked including unused open fireplaces and
The good news on the above is that you're not expected to have all of this ready by next week. The legislation outlines the timeframe that landlords have to comply with the new requirements.
The current requirements under the Residential Tenancies Act are that landlords must ensure their rental properties have the correct ceiling and underfloor insulation by 1 July 2019.
Key dates of compliance for the Residential Tenancies (Healthy Homes Standards) Regulations 2019 (Standards) are as follows:
- 1 July 2021: Private landlords must ensure that their rental properties comply with the
Standards within 90 days of any new tenancy.
- 1 July 2021: All boarding houses must comply with the Standards.
- 1 July 2023: All Housing New Zealand houses and registered Community Housing
Providers houses must comply with the Standards.
- 1 July 2024: All rental homes must comply with the Standards.
Landlords are required to ensure their rental properties meet the Standards by the deadline that is applicable to them. Most landlords are required to meet the Standards within 90 days from the start of any new or renewed tenancy from 1 July 2021 and all tenancies must meet the Standards by 1 July 2024.
The Standards build on existing information requirements for Tenancy Agreements, with
landlords now having to include healthy homes information in order to demonstrate compliance. These records must be available to the Tenancy Tribunal or the Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team at any time.
From 1 July 2019 all new or renewed tenancy agreements must include a signed statement that the landlord will comply with the Standards as required by the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. From 1 July 2020 landlords will need to include information on each of the standards in any new or renewed tenancy agreement even if they are not yet required to comply with the Standards.
You can find further information on the Healthy Homes Standard including a fact sheet as well as common questions and answers on the Ministry of Housing and Development website.
GQ Can Help
If you have any questions in relation to the Standards deadline applicable to you as landlord or require general advice as to how these regulations might impact you, feel free to contact one of the Property Law specialists at Govett Quilliam.