Healthy Homes Standards Regulations 2019

The New Zealand Government has made amendments to the Healthy Homes Standards, introducing changes that impact the heating, ventilation and moisture ingress and drainage requirements for rental properties. The aim is to increase the quality of rental homes in New Zealand, with the standards protecting Kiwis from living in cold, damp homes, and also protecting the landlord’s investment.

There are five healthy homes standards that all rental properties need to comply with by 1st July 2024. Blackwood Montagna have a lot of investors within their client base, and have broken down the five standards below:

Heating Standard

A fixed heating device must be installed in the living room of the property that can achieve a temperature of at least 18ºc on the coldest of days. This standard temperature has been set by the World Health Organization for the minimum indoor temperature. Heat-pumps or compliant wood burners are likely already providing sufficient warmth in larger living rooms around New Zealand, however where you have a smaller living area, a fixed electric heater may be adequate if there is no current heating.

If you have existing heating at your property, it may not meet the new standards if it’s inefficient, unaffordable, or unhealthy to run (i.e an un-flued gas heater, open fire, or electric heater - excluding heat pumps). Please ensure this is checked and remedied if not compliant.

Insulation Standard

Under the new insulation standard, the minimum level of ceiling and underfloor insulation must now either meet the 2008 Building Code, or for existing ceiling insulation, have a minimum thickness of 120mm. Most rental homes will already have approximately 70-120mm of ceiling insulation, so the requirement is to increase this to a minimum of 120mm where required. Adequate insulation in homes minimises heat loss and is key to maintaining a warm, dry, and healthy home.

Ventilation Standard.

All kitchens and bathrooms must have mechanical extract ventilation under the new ventilation standard. In addition, all living rooms, dining, kitchens, and bedrooms must have windows that can be opened. Ventilation is an important factor in preventing mould, which can result in respiratory illnesses and worsening asthma, and causes significant damage to properties and belongings.

Moisture Ingress and Drainage Standard

Properties must now have adequate drainage and guttering, downpipes and drains. If there is an enclosed subfloor, it must have a ground moisture barrier (where installation is possible) that will protect the home from rising moisture.

Draught Stopping Standard

Whilst insulation and heating are best practice, they are ineffective in a home with draughts. With further guidelines to come, the standard currently states that landlords must block or prevent draughts from any unnecessary gaps or holes in the walls. Providing tenants with draught stoppers for doors and ensuring quality curtains are installed in each room are extra steps that landlords can take to keep their tenants warm.

Dates for compliance

Be aware that the final date for complying with the new healthy homes standards is 1st July 2024, however if you have a new tenant or a varied tenancy after the 1st July 2021, you will only have 90 days to comply. Private landlords of new homes built to the 2008 building code and apartments have until the 12th of February 2023 to comply.

Blackwood Montagna recommend that you work with a reputable property manager to ensure that your rental investments are up to standard.