New ‘Healthy Homes’ laws take effect: how to ensure you’re compliant

Healthy Homes

We all know how chilly a New Zealand winter can get — nevermind the frigid temperatures in spots where we actually get snow. In an effort to make Kiwi residencies as warm and dry as possible for tenants, New Zealand Tenancy Services has recently implemented new rental property laws dubbed ‘Healthy Homes.’ Broken down into compliance stages from 2019 to 2024, these laws raise minimums for household standards such as heating, ventilation, and insulation.

Here’s everything you need to know about the updated regulations, from who they apply to down to the date each kicks in.

What’s happening?

New tenancy laws that aim to improve the overall quality of homes around New Zealand — and thereby the quality of living for New Zealand renters.

When do they take effect?

The revised laws roll out in stages, with a new set each July from 2019 to 2024. We’ll get into a bit more detail on this shortly.

Who do the laws apply to?

Landlords, property owners, and property managers.

What exactly are the laws?

The new laws cover areas that affect the overall comfort and liveability of a home: heating, insulation, ventilation, and drainage, as well as measures to reduce or eliminate moisture and to plug draughts. Here’s a quick rundown:

The main living area must be equipped with a fixed heating device (no standalone room heaters) that can warm the space to 18°C or higher.

The home’s insulation (both ceiling and underfloor) must meet the 2008 Building Code or have a thickness of at least 120 millimetres.

The kitchen, bedrooms, living room, and dining room must have openable windows to ensure adequate ventilation and to prevent mould. Extractor fans must be installed in any room containing a bathtub, shower, or indoor cooktop.

The home must have efficient drainage, including guttering and downpipes, and a ground moisture barrier must be in place if there’s an enclosed space under the floor.

And lastly? If there are any noticeable draughts, the cracks or gaps causing them must be sealed. This covers spaces throughout the entire structure, including door frames, windows, floorboards, walls, and ceilings.

When does each new law become binding?

As we mentioned, the laws roll out in stages through 2024. A few are already in effect from July 1 of this year.

1 July 2019: Ceiling and floor insulation must be installed, and landlords must provide tenants with a signed agreement stating they’ll meet the new standards. They must also start keeping records that demonstrate compliance.

1 July 2020: Landlords are required to add a statement to any new or existing tenancy agreement outlining how compliant they are with all the new standards.

1 July 2021: Within 90 days of any new or renewed agreement, landlords must meet all of the standards.

1 July 2024: All rental properties must comply with each standard.

Contact us today if you have further questions or if you would like to discuss your personal or business insurance needs.