The New Healthy Homes Standards introduce minimum standards for rental properties. The standards include improvements to heating, insulation, and ventilation and addressing moisture, drainage and draught stopping.
The new legislation was introduced in a staged implementation from 1 July 2019 until its completion on 1 July 2024.
• 1 July 2019 – First stage
• 1 July 2021 – Second stage
• 1 July 2024 – Final stage
From 1 December 2020, all landlords must include a statement of the current level of compliance in their tenancy agreements.
FIRST STAGE – 1 JULY 2019
The first stage of healthy homes implementation was insulation. Ceiling and underfloor insulation are compulsory in all rental homes, wherever it is reasonably practicable to install.
The required insulation is measured by R-value, which is a measure of resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation.
Landlords must complete this, in addition to the existing requirement to include a signed insulation statement in all tenancy agreements.
SECOND STAGE – 1 JULY 2020
Landlords must ensure compliance with Healthy Homes Standards within 90 days from the date of any new or renewed tenancy. This means they need to bring their properties in line with all additional standards, including
• Draught stopping and,
• Moisture and drainage
All rental homes must have openable windows, doors or skylights in the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms. The ventilation must be of a minimum area of 5% of the given space in each room.
In addition to openable windows, landlords must fit all kitchens and bathrooms with an extractor fan.
The exemption is where it is not reasonably practicable to install, or it was lawful when the room was built or converted into a habitable space for these requirements to be met.
For rental properties to be compliant, there must be no unreasonable gaps in the property, which cause noticeable draughts.
All unused open fireplaces, for example, must be closed off or chimneys blocked.
Fireplaces can be made available for use by agreement between parties and must be recorded in writing. See more under heating below.
Moisture and Drainage
Efficient drainage for removal of stormwater, surface water and groundwater is required on all rental properties. Gutters, downpipes and drains must be installed for roof drainage. Ground moister barriers for enclosed subfloors are also needed.
The exemption is where not reasonably practicable to install – by a professional installer.
Heating is a crucial factor in the New Healthy Homes Standards. One or more fixed heaters directed into the main living room is required in all rental properties.
These living room heating requirements will differ for each property and will need to be calculated by a formula provided in the legislation.
This equation is anything but user friendly. It takes the area and volume of the space, the loss of heat, the required internal temperature and more factors into account when providing you with your heating capacity.
Fortunately, several online tools have been developed to make this calculation easier. However, it is helpful to be aware of the numerous variables involved in the input – such as working out the precise measurements of the space in question.
As a second point of reassurance, there are heating and building professionals that can assist you with these checks.
The overall result is that a high standard of heating is required, which is a divergence from the building code requirements. Tenants are now entitled to better conditions than new building standards for owner-occupied homes.
You must carefully consider the implications of this point and plan your heating options to sufficiently and effectively cover the requirements for compliance with the healthy homes standards.
FINAL STAGE – 1 JULY 2024
From 1 July 2024, all private rental properties must comply with all Healthy Homes Standards.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information about the new healthy homes standards or advice on managing your rental properties, please contact Wellington’s leading property law experts on 04 472 0020.
We invite you to the 2021 Body Corporate Masterclass Series, brought to you by Oxygen Property Management Wellington Region and presented by our property law expert Jamie Nunns.
Join us for a free evening seminar on select dates from April to November. You can come along to one, two, or all eight free seminars – the choice is yours. Each session will start at 5.30 pm and will finish at approximately 6.15 pm.
Tickets are limited – please register today! 🏘