Making your rental cosy: Tips for tenants and landlords

Heating a cold house in the middle of winter can be a hard thing to do. But since the new Healthy Home Standards became law on 1 July 2019, heating up a rental property should become easier.

While the minimum standards became law on 1 July 2019, landlords have until July 2021 to implement an upgrade of insulation, extractor fans, draughts and heating in the living area. And while there is still 2 years to complete this, what was demonstrated with the first round of insulation is that it is way better to get on with this sooner rather than later before stocks run out.

Now that properties are required to have the minimum standards of ceiling and underfloor insulation where possible, extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms, a fixed heating source in the main living area and any noticeable draughts blocked, there are things that can be done to help warm the rooms up to a comfortable temperature and retain the warmth.

Take a look at some of the options we’ve put together that landlords and tenants can follow to help make the properties cosier that don’t cost earth to do so.

For landlords

Check for draughts on windows and doors: It will be easier for the tenants to heat a house if there’s no opportunities for the warmth to escape. Provide draught-stoppers along the bottom of doors and check for windows that aren't closing properly. If you do find windows that are letting the warm air escape, you can buy a roll of sealing tape from a DIY store, which can be easily applied to the window.

Heaters: Under the new law, there must be a fixed heating source that can directly heat the main living area to at least 18oc. The heater must not be an open fire or an unflued combustion heater, eg portable LPG bottle, as they give off a lot of moisture and potentially dangerous gases.

Check the heating system is clean and efficient: If the property has a heat pump or wood burner, make sure you clean the heat pump’s filter regularly, as a blocked filter can make it run inefficiently. And it’s always important to get the chimney cleaned on a wood burner every year as built up soot could cause a chimney fire.  

Trim trees and shrubs: Trim any trees or shrubs that might be stopping the sun from shining into the house. Every single square metre of north-facing window area that gets sun is equal to running a small panel heater for free.  

For tenants

Ventilation: Under the new law, landlords have been required to install extractor fans in the kitchen and bathrooms. But it’s your responsibility to use them and keep moisture to a minimum. If they aren't working properly, ask your landlord or property manager to get an electrician in to look at them. Also, if there's someone home during the day, open the windows to air the house out and avoid drying clothes inside.

Use a dehumidifier: A dehumidifier will have an upfront expense, but it can actually be an economical way to take the chill off a room as well as drying it out. A Consumer NZ test found that a dehumidifier raised a typical bedroom's temperature by 3.6oc over two hours and only used 11 cents of electricity.

Open and close curtains: Open the curtains in the morning to let the winter sun warm your home and close the curtains as the sun goes down to retain warmth.

Under the new Healthy Home Standards, landlords should make sure that their rental home can be well heated and ventilated. Tenants are responsible for ventilating the home during their tenancy and use the provided heat source.

If you are managing your own property and want someone to help you navigate these new rules, or to do it on your behalf, get in touch with Keith at Nice Place on 027 3066009 or keith@niceplace.co.nz  

 

 
Nick Phillips