Responding to recent rental sector feedback, the New Zealand Government has agreed to make amendments to the current Healthy Homes Standards. The changes will impact the heating, ventilation and moisture ingress and drainage requirements for rental properties.
Moving forward, the heating requirements will take into account the heightened thermal performance of new homes built to the 2008 building code and apartments. These amendments to the Residential Tenancies (Health Homes Standards) Regulations 2019 will come into effect on 12th May 2022. However, the current requirements remain for buildings that are not apartments or are not built to the 2008 building code requirements.
The changes generally permit the use of smaller heating devices. Although this is given that the device heats the main living room to 18ºc on the coldest day of the year.
Private landlords of new homes built to the 2008 building code and apartments have until the 12th of February 2023 to comply. If you would like to discuss how these changes will impact you, please get in touch with one of our property experts here.
These changes will also benefit landlords utilising innovative and energy-efficient technologies. Developers will be able to access an alternative route for compliance with the heating standard. If you own a development property and would like to explore your options and obligations, please give us a call.
Electric Heater Top Up Allowance
Revisions have been made to the electric heater ‘top up’ allowance for qualified heaters installed prior to 1 July 2019. This allowance will increase from 1.5kW to 2.4kW. Although, any subsequent replacement heaters must meet the full requirements as stated in the Healthy Homes Standards.
Further updates to the requirements will affect the small number of New Zealand rental properties that utilise geothermal heating. More information is available here.
Additionally, the updated ventilation standard enables the use of continuous mechanical ventilation systems that extract from kitchens and bathrooms. However, this is provided that the system has received building consent on, or after, 1 November 2019.
Moisture Ingress and Drainage
The obligations of landlords in regard to the moisture ingress and drainage standard have been clarified. Landlords are not required to install alternative moisture barriers where installation of a polyethene barrier is not reasonably practical.
This change will come into effect on 12 May 2022.
What do healthy homes need?
The healthy homes standards set the specific and minimum standards for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, and draught stopping in rental properties. Meeting these requirements will help ensure that your property lasts longer, is more secure and needs less long-term maintenance. Another benefit – your property will attract long-term tenants who want to look after the place.
What are the Healthy Homes Standards?
The Healthy Homes Guarantee Act is a government policy that aims to increase the quality of rental homes in New Zealand. The standards protect Kiwis from living in cold, damp homes while also protecting the landlord’s investment.