Private Landlords have been given just over two years to ensure rental properties meet the Government’s healthy home standards but it could mean tenants will wind up paying more rent. Private landlords have until July 1, 2021 to ensure rental properties comply with the standards, while Housing NZ and other social housing providers have another two years.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced the changes in Wellington on Sunday which will require a minimum standard for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage in residential rental properties.

Twyford said the average three-bedroom home which did not meet the standards would cost about $7000 to upgrade.

The New Zealand Property Investors’ Federation (NZPIF) predicted tenants would foot the bill for improvements.

Executive officer Andrew King was supportive of the quality standards but said changes would need to be cost-effective so landlords did not pass them on, but that was unlikely for homes with existing insulation.

The next step is for the standards to be drafted in regulations and approved by Cabinet. The regulations will become law by mid-2019.

All rental homes will be required to:

  • Have a heater that can heat the main living area to 18 degrees Celsius.
  • Have ceiling and underfloor insulation that either meets the 2008 Building Code insulation standard, or (for existing ceiling insulation) has a minimum thickness of 120 millimetres.
  • Kitchens and bathrooms will be required to have extraction fans or rangehoods.
  • Install a ground moisture barrier to stop moisture rising into the home where there is an enclosed subfloor space.
  • Have adequate drainage and guttering to prevent water entering the home.
  • Block draughts that make a home harder to heat.

Compliance timeline: 

July 1, 2021 – Private landlords must ensure rental properties comply with the healthy home standards within 90 days of any new tenancy, and all boarding houses must comply with the healthy home standards.

July 1, 2023 – All Housing New Zealand houses and registered Community Housing Providers houses must comply with the healthy home standards.

July 1, 2024 – All rental homes must comply with the healthy home standards.

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