The healthy homes standards are the minimum and specific standards for heating, insulation, ventilation, drainage, moisture ingress, and draught stopping, in rental properties.

Private rentals must comply within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy after 1 July 2021, and all private rentals must comply by 1 July 2024. By 1 July 2021, all boarding houses must comply. 

Rental properties must be maintained and improved by landlords. By setting these standards, landlords will be able to maintain healthier and safer properties at lower maintenance costs. Additionally, tenants will be better able to maintain a dry and warm home thanks to these standards. Below are the five key things to look into anf know about when it comes to the healthy homes standard.

Heating

There must be one or more fixed heaters in each rental property, which can directly heat the main living room and meet the required heating capacity. The requirements of this standard will not be met by certain heating devices that are inefficient, unaffordable, or unhealthy. Tenancy.govt.nz/heating-tool provides an assessment tool that shows the minimum amount of heat required for your rental unit. Using it, you can decide whether current heating is sufficient or if an additional heater is needed.

Ventilation

Each bedroom, dining room, living room, lounge and kitchen must have one or more openings to the outside (including skylights). The openable doors and/or windows must have a total area of at least 5% of the floor area in each room respectively. You need to be able to fix the windows or doors in the open position. Extraction fans must be installed in all bathrooms and kitchens and ventilate externally (no recirculating range hoods).

Insulation 

The installation of underfloor and ceiling insulation in rental homes has been mandatory since 1 July 2019 where it is reasonably practicable. A minimum R-value* of 1.3 is required for underfloor insulation. It is important to top up or replace existing ceiling insulation if it is not in a reasonable condition, and in most cases existing ceiling insulation should be at least 120mm thick. It is necessary to comply with Minimum R-values set forth in the 2008 Building Code when top-ups are needed on ceiling insulation. The R-value of insulation indicates how well it resists heat flow.

Moisture ingress and drainage

An efficient drainage system is required for all rental properties to remove water from stormwater, surface water, and groundwater. Drainage systems must include gutters, downpipes, and drains in order to remove water from the roof. A ground moisture barrier must be installed if a rental property has an enclosed subfloor if it is reasonably practicable to do so

Draught stopping

There must be no unreasonable gaps or holes in walls, ceilings, windows, floors or doors, causing draughts to be noticeable. Fire places should be blocked unless the landlord and tenant agree otherwise.

Each of these standards has some exemptions, as well as some general exemptions that may apply to some rental properties. On the Tenancy Services website, you can find more information about exemptions (www.tenancy.govt,nz). Find out how Ester Electrical can help you get your heating and ventilation up to code in your rental property.