Make sure your rental property is compliant with Healthy Homes standards
On July 1 2019, the Healthy Homes standards became part of New Zealand law for the 600,000 rental properties throughout the country.
These standards were designed to ensure every rental property meets a certain range of minimum requirements in terms of insulation, heating, moisture ingress and drainage, ventilation, and draught control. In short, these standards help to ensure that every tenant enjoys a basic level of comfort and wellbeing in their home.
If you own a rental property in New Zealand, it’s up to you to meet these standards. Here are the key factors in making your rental compliant with the Healthy Homes standards.
Meeting heating standards
As a landlord, you must provide one or more heaters in the main living room.
This must be a fixed (non-portable) heater that provides enough warmth for the whole room, and this heater cannot be an open fire or a combustion heater. If it is a heat pump or electric heater, there must be a thermostat.
Meeting insulation standards
Every rental property must have both ceiling and underfloor insulation.
The levels of insulation requirements actually vary across New Zealand due to the different climate zones, so it’s important to know which zone your property falls under to ensure you meet the standards.
These standards are measured in R values, which must meet a minimum level for each zone (although the underfloor value is the same across the country).
Zone 1: Ceiling R 2.9, underfloor R 1.3
Zone 2: Ceiling R 2.9, underfloor R 1.3
Zone 3: Ceiling R 3.3, underfloor R 1.3
Meeting ventilation standards
Ventilation standards mean that every rental home must have windows that open in the living room, dining room, kitchen, and bathroom. Additionally, bathrooms and kitchens must have extractor fans.
Also, note that windows in these areas must be able to be propped open in a fixed position, and they must be a minimum size of 5% of the floor area in that room.
These standards are designed to ensure tenants are able to avoid mould and dampness by properly ventilating their home. This also benefits landlords, as they will be less likely to have to deal with damage caused by mould in the long term.
Meeting moisture ingress and drainage standards
These standards proclaim that all properties must have efficient drainage to remove ground water, surface water, and storm water. Additionally, if your rental property has an enclosed sub-floor space, it must also have a ground moisture barrier.
This system of water removal must include downpipes, gutters, and drains that remove water from the roof.
Meeting draught stopping standards
New Zealand landlords must make sure their properties do not have unreasonable holes or gaps in any doors, floors, skylights, windows, walls, or ceilings that cause noticeable draughts. Also, if you have an unused fireplace in your property, it must be closed off or blocked to avoid draughts.
These standards are in place to avoid making it difficult to heat a home, and to avoid high power bills associated with heating a draughty home.
Finally, note that there are some exemptions for these standards, and not all standards have taken effect (however they must all be met by July 1 2024). Be sure to check the finer points of each standard and know the compliance dates of each one to ensure your property passes the test on the New Zealand Tenancy Services website.
If you need help ensuring your property meets any of these standards, get in touch with Maintain Your Property for a free quote to get started. We offer reliable general handyman skills and home maintenance to assist New Zealand landlords with maintaining and upgrading their properties.