The Healthy Homes Standards

by Sam Macfarlane

In New Zealand there are a growing number of families and individuals living in rental homes and staff accommodation houses that have poor living conditions. This has been linked to major health issues in New Zealand such as rheumatic fever and asthma, due to cold, damp homes.

The government identified this as being a huge problem with the growing number of families being admitted to hospitals around the country every year with preventable illnesses. As a result, the healthy homes standards were introduced with specific and minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, and draught stopping to help combat the problems that the health sector were seeing and in return make it easier for tenants to keep their homes warm and dry.

So what are the healthy homes regulations and what does this mean for those who have older rental properties or staff accommodation homes? To put it simply, any house that does not comply with the following standards may find themselves receiving a significant fine by the government.

Learn more about the standards by reading the following:

Heating Standard

A landlord must provide a fixed heater that can directly heat the main living room to a maintained temperature of at least 18˚C all year round. The heater must also meet the minimum heating capacity required for your living room. Learn more here.  

Insulation Standard

Since the 1st of July 2019 ceiling and underfloor insulation has been compulsory in all rental homes. Some existing insulation in rental properties will need to be topped up or replaced. Ceiling insulation needs to be at least 120mm thick and underfloor insulation needs a minimum R-value of 1.3. Learn more about what this means here.

Ventilation Standard

All rental homes must have windows that open to the outside in the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms. Kitchens and bathrooms must also have extractor fans. Learn more here.

Moisture Ingress & Drainage Standard

Rental properties must have efficient drainage for the removal of stormwater, surface water and groundwater. Rental properties with an enclosed sub-floor space must have a ground moisture barrier. Learn more here.

Drought Stopping Standard

Landlords must make sure the property doesn’t have unreasonable gaps or holes in walls, ceilings, windows, skylights, floors and doors which will cause noticeable draughts. All unused open fireplaces must be closed off or their chimneys must be blocked to prevent draughts. As a rule of thumb these gaps can not be greater than 3 mm in width. Generally, if a New Zealand $2 coin can fit in the gap then the gap needs to be filled.

Is your property healthy home compliant?

Healthy Homes Compliance Timeframes

From 1 July 2019

  • Ceiling and underfloor insulation will be compulsory in all rental homes where it is reasonably practicable to install.
  • Landlords must sign a statement of intent to comply with the healthy homes standards in any new, varied or renewed tenancy agreement.
  • This statement is in addition to the existing requirement to include a signed insulation statement with all tenancy agreements that covers what insulation the property has, where it is, and what type.

Landlords must keep records that demonstrate compliance with any healthy homes standards that apply or will apply during the tenancy.

From 1 July 2020

  • Landlords must include a statement of their current level of compliance with the healthy homes standards in any new, varied or renewed tenancy agreement.

From 1 July 2021

  • Private landlords must ensure their rental properties comply with the healthy homes standards within 90 days of any new, or renewed, tenancy.
  • All boarding houses except Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand) and Community Housing Provider boarding house tenancies must comply with the healthy homes standards.

From 1 July 2023

  • All Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand) houses and registered Community Housing Provider houses must comply with the healthy homes standards.

From 1 July 2024

  • All rental homes must comply with the healthy homes standards.

Landlords, who implement the healthy homes standards will have healthier, drier properties and lower maintenance costs for their investments. If a landlord is not compliant then they may face exemplary damages through the Tenancy Tribunal. The amount awarded by the Tribunal is dependent on a number of factors including the landlords' intentions and the effect of the non-compliance on the tenant.

If you have been thinking about upgrading your staff accommodation or rental properties which require a lot of uptake maintenance to meet the Healthy Homes Standards then we have a range of affordable houses which can be built and delivered to your property. Check out our range here or download our brochure below.

As a landlord, it's your responsibility to ensure the house you rent out complies with the standards above. Some houses may require quite a lot of work to be raised to these standards and it may be more effective, and efficient to simply build a new home that is 100% compliant. That's where we can help. We have a range of affordable houses which can be built and delivered to your property within 20 weeks. Check out our range here or download our brochure below.

2020 Genius Homes Brochure download now

filed under farm accommodation , staff accommodation , farm home , healhty homes , healthy homes standards

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