New rental standards
When the Government made the announcement of the new rental standards there was a lot of confusion around the timing that landlords would have to complete the work and what exactly needs to be done in order to meet the standards. Below we have simplified the new requirements to make them easier for landlords to understand what needs to be done and what tenants should expect.
Rental homes will be required to have a heater in the main living area that can heat the room to 18oC
Ceiling and underfloor insulation needs to be added and it should meet the 2008 Building Code for insulation, which is a minimum thickness of 120mm
Kitchens and bathrooms will need an extraction fan or a rangehood to make these rooms drier
If there is enclosed subfloor space, a ground moisture barrier will need to be installed to stop moisture rising into the home
Draughts will need to be blocked to help heat the property easily
Drainage and guttering will need to be adequate to prevent water entering the home
As a tenant these standards will make living in a rental property more comfortable. Rooms will be warmer and drier year round, and prevent dampness and mould build up. With heaters and extractor fans being made compulsory it will be up to you as a tenant to make sure you use them properly, so they function the way they are meant to and keep the rooms dry.
These regulations will become law by mid-2019 and private landlords will have until 1 July 2021 to ensure rental properties comply with the healthy home standards within 90 days of any new tenancy. From 1 July 2024 all rental homes including boarding houses, housing NZ and community housing providers must comply with the healthy home standards.
There is no doubt some properties and many people in New Zealand will benefit from these standards, but only giving private landlords two years is not enough time, we have already seen in the media that landlords are struggling to find trades people to carry out the work needed already. The other issue with introducing these standards is rent increases, as landlords will be paying hundreds if not thousands to bring the properties up to the required standard, they will need to recoup that money from somewhere and it will be from rent increases.