The healthy homes standards were introduced on the 1st of July 2019, and now landlords have increased responsibilities to their tenants.
Private rentals have around two years from the date of legislation to be compliant (in most cases). Any new or renewed tenancy after 1st July 2021 will need to meet the healthy homes standards. Long-term tenancies that won’t otherwise renew will have until 1st July 2024. Boarding houses have only the initial two year period to become compliant.
Read more on the NZ Tenancy Services Healthy Homes Standards page.
Current tenants must be provided with a form of heating, which has previously meant something as simple as a cheap plug-in heater. Under the new laws, electric heaters might not cut it. The healthy homes standards require landlords to provide heating that can constantly keep the main living room at 18°C during the coldest time of the year.
Landlords are responsible for the maintenance of heaters and fireplaces. Chimneys especially need regular cleaning for safety reasons. Since open fireplaces are directly open to the sky, unless the tenant asks for it to be usable you’ll need to block it up.
Read more on our Heat Pump page.
Ventilation is a key factor in the healthy homes standards. It can lessen the amount of moisture in a home, reduce mould, and make heating more efficient. Ventilation can have significant advantages for the longevity of your house, too.
As a landlord, you should consider installing a clothes-dryer that vents outside and a ventilation system that brings in air from outside. Tenants should be instructed to open windows and doors for fresh air, including in winter, especially when cooking or showering. Containing steam in bathrooms and venting bathroom air outside are positive ventilation measures. Landlords are responsible for the maintenance of ventilation systems.
Read more on our Damp and Moisture page.
Benefits for All
A warm, dry home can mean less illness for the tenants, less time off work and ultimately less missed rent. Respiratory illnesses, including asthma and more severe acute diseases, have been linked with living in a cold, damp home.
Tenants are more likely to stay on if their home is warm, dry, cheap to heat and comfortable. All the healthy homes improvements you make will increase the quality of your rental, making it more competitive on the market.
EECA Energywise’s buying and renting checklist can help you gauge the warmth and comfort of a home.