The healthy homes standards became law on 1 July 2019, as a result landlords are now responsible for the below;

Heating your rental home

Currently landlords must provide a form of heating in any living room under the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947. Some councils may provide information on approved forms of heating. If they don’t, the Tenancy Tribunal may consider an inexpensive plug in heater (or similar) to be enough. However this type of heater will most likely not meet the healthy homes standards.

Heating is one of the healthy homes standards. All private rentals must comply with the healthy homes standards within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy after 1 July 2021, with all private rentals complying by 1 July 2024.

All boarding houses must comply by 1 July 2021. All houses rented by Housing New Zealand and registered Community Housing Providers must comply by 1 July 2023.

Healthy homes standards

Good ventilation reduces the amount of moisture in your home. This helps keep tenants healthy and also makes the home easier to heat. Ventilation is also one of the healthy homes standards.

If you’re a landlord, you might also want to think about:

  • a dryer that vents to the outside
  • a central ventilation system that sources air from the outside
  • Tenants should open doors and windows regularly to let fresh air in, even in winter.

Opening windows when cooking or showering, gets rid of excess moisture in your rental home. Keeping the bathroom door closed during and after showering can help prevent steam from spreading further.

Poor heating and ventilation can lead to mould growth and dampness.

Mould and dampness

Landlords are responsible for maintaining any heaters and ventilation systems. Currently if there’s a usable fireplace, the chimney needs to be safe and regularly cleaned. This may also be required for your insurance.

Under the healthy homes standards, landlords will need to close up open fireplaces or block the chimney unless the tenant asks in writing for it to remain usable and the landlord agrees.

Draught stopping standards

When a home is warm and dry, tenants are less likely to suffer health problems caused by cold and damp. This includes respiratory illnesses like asthma and more serious diseases like rheumatic fever.

Avoidable illnesses can result in unplanned medical bills and time off work. These extra costs can increase the risk of missed rent payments. Tenants are also likely to stay longer if their home is warm and cheap to heat.

A well-insulated home that has energy-efficient heating and appliances is easier to market and can attract a higher rent.

EECA Energywise’s buying and renting checklist    can help show you how warm and comfortable the home is.

Smoke Alarms are Important

Working smoke alarms or detectors are compulsory in all rental homes. New smoke alarms must be photoelectric and have a long battery life, or be hard-wired.

Smoke alarms must be installed:

• within 3 metres of each bedroom door, or in every room where a person sleeps
• in each level or story of a multi-story or multi-level home
• in all rental homes, boarding houses, rental caravans, and self-contained sleep-outs.

All new smoke alarms must:

• be photoelectric
• have a battery life of at least eight years, or be hard-wired
• installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions
• meet international standards.

Existing smoke alarms do not need to be replaced if they are working, and have not passed the expiry date.

Landlords and tenants are responsible for maintaining smoke alarms

Landlords must ensure smoke alarms:

• are working at the start of each new tenancy
• remain in working order during the tenancy

Tenants must:

• not damage, remove, or disconnect a smoke alarm
• replace dead batteries during the tenancy if there are older-style smoke alarms with replaceable batteries
• let the landlord know if there are any problems with the smoke alarms as soon as possible.

Landlords can enter their rental home to comply with smoke alarm requirements. They must give 24 hours’ notice and entry must be between 8am and 7pm.
If landlords don’t meet their obligations, they could be fined up to $4,000. If tenants don’t meet their obligations they could be fined up to $3,000.

Boarding houses

Landlords must replace expired batteries in the common areas of boarding houses like hallways and kitchens.
Tenants must replace expired batteries for smoke alarms installed in their rooms.

Click here for all the official information direct from Tenancy Services

Digital TV Facilities

Landlords can be responsible for digital TV facilities. When landlords install digital TV they must also repair and maintain the equipment. If a property’s not set up to receive digital TV, they don’t have to install or upgrade equipment to receive it.

If a landlord wants to install digital TV during the tenancy they’ll need the tenant’s permission to access the property. This also applies if they want someone to do the installation for them. When carrying out the work, they need to respect the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment.

Tenants maybe able to install digital TV. If a house is not set up to receive digital TV, a tenant may want to install it themselves. The tenant needs to get the landlord’s written permission to install it. The landlord can’t withhold their permission without a good reason.

Before agreeing to install digital TV the landlord and tenant should decide who will own the equipment. Often satellite dishes are the property of the company that provides the service (eg Sky). They should also decide who’ll be responsible for repair and maintenance. Any agreements should be in writing.

Tenants can remove their fixtures at the end of a tenancy as long as it doesn’t cause irreparable damage. This means some landlords prefer to install digital TV themselves. If the equipment is removed by the tenant at the end of the tenancy, they must ensure any damage is repaired. For example, repairing mounting or cabling holes.

Landlords must agree before tenants add any fixtures.

TV Blur

Telephone and internet services

If you want a landline connected, make sure the property has enough working telephone jacks. Tenants should also check what internet services are available at the address. It’s important to do these checks before signing a tenancy agreement.

If you’re a tenant and you have phone and internet connected to the property, you will need to pay the bills.

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