Are you Ready for the Healthy Homes Laws in 2021?

With the year about to wrap up, we thought of asking landlords and tenants all over NZ: Are you ready for the healthy homes law implementation in 2021? In July 2019, the Healthy Homes Standards was signed into law, requiring all rental homes to adhere to the minimum standards for ventilation, insulation, heating, drainage, moisture ingress, and draught. Failure to comply with the regulations from December 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021 could result in substantial penalties. But what changes do you need to make? How can you ensure that you comply with the laws? Find out everything you need to do in our short guide below.

What Do you Need to Know?

Improving the quality of your rental homes is crucial to boosting the health of New Zealanders. It can also reduce medical costs and hospitalisation caused by illnesses like cardiovascular and pulmonary problems. Warmer and drier properties are also less susceptible to damage from mildew and moulds. Here’s a list of everything that you need to work on to bring your property up to code: 

  • Insulation – Properties must meet the 2008 Building Code, which requires at least a 120mm layer of ceiling insulation. The revised code also requires to avoid putting insulation in selected areas of the property.
  • Heating – The code requires installing heating equipment that can maintain no less than 18 degrees celsius. It’s crucial to have each room assessed, especially the main living area, to ensure that it meets the requirements. 
  • Draught stopping – Make sure to block holes, gaps, or other openings on the floor, windows, and ceilings. If your property also features unused chimneys and fireplaces, you should also cover them up. 
  • Ventilation – At least five percent of your floor area should be comprised of windows. This ensures that the room is well ventilated, preventing condensation of dust and other impurities inside the room.
  • Drainage and moisture ingress – Excessive water or moisture can cause a plethora of issues such as weakened structural foundations and poor health of the tenants.    

If you’re unsure where to start or what you must work on, you should have your property inspected. Our team can conduct a detailed inspection covering specific areas such as draught stopping, insulation, ventilation, moisture control, and heating.

Answering other FAQs about Healthy Homes Law 

Besides learning a thing or two about the newly implemented Health Homes Law, you may also have all kinds of questions about the law. We’ve gathered all the commonly asked questions about the new law and the answers to these questions to help you.

Why was the Healthy Homes Law passed?

The law got passed in an effort to ensure the health of tenants. A large fraction of properties all over New Zealand are old, so they need a bit of updating. By correcting problems, in the drainage, ventilation, and other aspects of your rental home, you can significantly reduce the risk of all kinds of mishaps, such as the onset of dangerous diseases.

My Property is already up to Standards, So what’s Next?

Even if you have ticked all the boxes in the standard Building Code, it’s likely that you missed out on some of the required property upgrades required by the Healthy Homes Standards. It’s good practice to have everything checked to ensure that you don’t miss out on any important aspect of your property.

What Types of Documents do Landlords Need to Present to Their Tenants to Prove Compliance with the Law?

You must keep copies of documents that relate to your property. These could include records of maintenance, repair, inspections, and other work done. Some other examples of documents you should have include

  • Code Compliance Certificate
  • Invoices from repair, maintenance, or other service providers
  • Documents showing requirements for the heating capacity of a room
  • Certificate of Acceptance
  • Photographic documentation
  • Property evaluation carried out by a duly licensed practitioner

What happens if there’s a dispute? How can a tenant or landlord resolve the matter?

To resolve a dispute concerning the healthy homes standards, landlords and tenants can apply their complaints through the Tenancy Tribunal. If the issue or breach is severe, you may take it up to the team handling Tenancy Compliance and Investigation. The financial penalty for failing to comply with the standards could around $4000 and typically awarded to the complaining tenant. In addition, failing to present the necessary documentation to tenants could result in a penalty ranging from $1000 to $2000.  

Get the Help You Need!

The last thing you want to deal with as a landlord is paying a hefty fine and incurring other penalties because you fail to satisfy the Healthy Homes standards. Make sure you know what you need to work on with the help of a professional team and a thorough inspection. Get in touch with ou team today for more information!