Healthy Homes Act

Healthy Homes Compliance

A quick summary of the Healthy Homes compliance dates for all residential landlords and investors.

For more info call Jay on 021 836087


Heating standards compliance

Heating standards: Will you comply?

The heating standards under the Healthy Homes Guarantees Act has got some landlords confused over what is currently required and what will be required when the heating standards come into law. The heating standard does not come into effect until 2021 at which point landlords will have three years to ensure their rental properties are compliant.

However, the time between when landlords must comply and when they need to be complying has created a “limbo period” that seems to be causing confusion and has been highlighted in some recent Tenancy Tribunal cases.  We thought we’d give you a reminder of exactly what is required and when.

 

What is the heating standard?

All rental properties must have one or more fixed heaters, that can directly heat the main living room to at least 18°C, which is the World Health Organization recommendation for a minimum indoor temperature, and can maintain that temperature all year round. The main living room is classified as the largest room that is used for general/everyday living. This can be the lounge, family room or dining room. Certain heating devices that are inefficient, unaffordable or unhealthy will not meet the requirements of this standard. A portable heater will not meet the requirements from July 2021.

From 1 July 2021 private rentals must comply with the heating standards within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy. And from 1 July 2024 private rentals must be complying.

What size heater will I need?

You can find out the size heater you will need by using the heating assessment tool. The heating assessment tool will help calculate the heating requirements. It’s important to read the guides before you start, as you'll need the measurements of your living room walls, floor, windows, ceiling and any other features to accurately calculate your heating requirements. Once you do this it will create a report that shows the minimum heating capacity required. It can also be used to check if the current heating is sufficient to meet the standard, or if it is necessary to install a new heater.

What is the online heating assessment tool?

An online heating assessment tool is available in the Tenancy Services website that enables you to evaluate if their heater is compliant for that living room. After the user enters several parameters such as living area size, the wattage of the heater, etc, the online tool will produce a calculation that needs to be included with the tenancy agreement as part of the heating statement.

Are there any exemptions?

Exemptions are given for certain certified passive houses. These types of homes are warm, dry and have a low maintenance cost because they are built utilising high specification windows, insulation and automated ventilation system that can maintain indoor temperatures to 20°C year-round. Moreover, the exemption is also given to homes that are not reasonably practicable to install a heating device in the living area.

From 1 July 2020
Landlords must include a statement of their current level of compliance with the healthy homes standards in any new, varied or renewed tenancy agreement.

From 1 July 2021
Private landlords must ensure their rental properties comply with the healthy homes standards within 90 days of any new, or renewed, tenancy.
All boarding houses (except Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand) and Community Housing Provider boarding house tenancies) must comply with the healthy homes standards.

From 1 July 2023
All Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand) houses and registered Community Housing Provider houses must comply with the healthy homes standards.

From 1 July 2024
All rental homes must comply with the healthy homes standards.

We’ll be in contact with all our clients to ensure compliance, and if you have any questions regarding heating your rental property, please give us a call 093735400


Healthy Homes - Ground Moisture Barrier

From the 1 July 2021 a landlord must ensure that their rental property complies within 90 days of a new tenancy but all rental properties must be compliant by 1 July 2024.

We have talked about most of the other requirements in the Healthy Homes Act but haven't discussed the ground moisture barrier requirements. It is estimated that around 1.2 million New Zealand homes have suspended timber floors and a lot of those are in Auckland. We encourage rental property owners to start making the necessary upgrades to their rental property now as it is very likely that 90 days will not be sufficient time for landlords to comply with all of the requirements come 2021.

Why Moisture Barrier?

On average, 250ml of water can evaporate from 1m² of ground in 24 hours. Moisture under a house can cause mould and mildew inside the house, affecting the health of the occupants. Even apparently dry ground will produce about 25 kg of water vapour per day - going straight up into the house (BRANZ data).

Installing heavy duty builders polythene (no less than 0.25mm thick) as a groundsheet effectively reduces rising damp and can lower the moisture level in the home.

The product is available from most hardware stores and is around $8 per sqm, for those DIY landlords, however for the vapour barrier to be effective it needs to be correctly installed. Leaks from water or waste pipes, wet areas, cladding and so on must be dealt with before the material is laid.

 

The vapour barrier should completely cover the soil and sheets should overlap a minimum of 75 mm and should be butted up to surrounding foundation walls and piles. Sheets should also be weighted down to avoid being moved by the ventilating air movement.

 

Find out about funding options for making a warmer drier home here.


Healthy Homes - What to expect and by When?

The Healthy Homes Guarantee Act passed in 2017 allowed for the development of standards to improve the quality of rental housing in New Zealand.

What to expect and by when :

Standard

Required standard

Heating There must be fixed heating devices, capable of achieving a minimum temperature of at least 18°C in the living room only. Some heating devices are inefficient, unaffordable or unhealthy and will not meet the requirements under the heating standard.
Insulation The minimum level of ceiling and underfloor insulation must either meet the 2008 Building Code, or (for existing ceiling insulation) have a minimum thickness of 120mm.
Ventilation Ventilation must include openable windows in the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms. Also an appropriately sized extractor fan(s) in rooms with a bath or shower or indoor cooktop.
Moisture ingress and drainage Landlords must ensure efficient drainage and guttering, downpipes and drains. If a rental property has an enclosed subfloor, it must have a ground moisture barrier if it’s possible to install one.
Draught stopping Landlords must stop any unnecessary gaps or holes in walls, ceilings, windows, floors, and doors that cause noticeable draughts. All unused chimneys and fireplaces must be blocked.
Compliance timeframes 1 July 2021 – From this date, private landlords must ensure that their rental properties comply with HHS within 90 days of any new tenancy.

1 July 2021 – All boarding houses must comply with the HHS.

1 July 2023 – All Housing New Zealand and registered Community Housing Provider houses must comply with the HHS.

1 July 2024 – All rental homes must comply with the HHS.

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

Find out about the Retrofit Your Home financial assistance to help with the costs of these improvements.

See the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development website for more information about the Healthy Homes Standards and how to comply with them.