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.

About the standards

Ensuring everyone has a warm dry rental home is a priority to improving the wellbeing of New Zealanders and their families. Nearly 600,000 households rent in New Zealand and research tells us that NZ’s rental housing is of poorer quality than owner-occupied homes.

In February 2019 the Government announced the healthy homes standards. These standards are now drafted into the Residential Tenancies (Healthy Homes Standards) Regulations 2019, which will become law on 1 July 2019.’

The final standards provide further detail on information released in February particularly requirements for tenancy agreements and record keeping.

To understand more about what has been changed read:

Healthy Homes Standards Common Questions and Answers [PDF, 697 KB]

Healthy Homes Standards Factsheet [PDF, 170 KB]

The Residential Tenancies (Healthy Homes Standards) Regulations 2019

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: September 12, 2019

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