Healthy rental homes

Nearly 600,000 households rent in New Zealand. The Government is committed to ensuring tenants in rental homes can live in safe, warm, dry and healthy homes.

Healthy homes standards

The healthy homes standards aim to make a significant change to the quality of New Zealand rental homes. The Standards cover improvements to heating, insulation, and ventilation, and addressing issues with moisture ingress and drainage and draught stopping.

Healthy Homes Standards

Insulation and smoke alarms

Changes to Residential Tenancy Regulations regarding insulation and smoke alarms came into force on 1 July 2016. Landlords must meet these requirements before 1 July 2019.

Regulations for insulation and smoke alarms

Unlawful residential premises

Proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 aim to give tenants greater protection if rental premises are found to be unlawful for residential purposes.

Unlawful residential premises

The healthy homes standards set the minimum requirements for:

Related to the standards is:

More detail on each healthy homes standard, including what landlords need to do to comply, is available on the Tenancy Services website.

The healthy homes standards

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 – Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities and registered Community Housing Provider houses must comply with the HHS.

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

Public consultation on the standards

In 2018 the healthy homes standards consultation sought submissions from the public and industry on improving the quality of rental properties so tenants are happier and healthier. The consultation closed on 22 October 2018.

What happens next?

The healthy homes standards are now finalised, landlords will need to start preparing to comply with the standards.

An online heating tool and guidance documents are expected to be available by 1 July 2019 to help landlords understand their new obligations.

These resources will be available on the Tenancy Services website. To keep up to date with important information regarding legislation changes that affect landlords and tenants, including the healthy homes standards, you can:

• sign up to the Tenancy Matters e-newsletter
• follow Tenancy Services on Facebook.

More information

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development has released Cabinet papers about the healthy homes standards. In these documents you can find out more about the advice and decision-making processes behind the creation of the standards.

Cabinet papers and related documents

For more information on the standards please email your enquiry to healthyhomes@hud.govt.nz

 

Published: June 3, 2020

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