Housing ministry unveils new standards for rental properties

by Duffie Osental26 Feb 2019

On the heels of new rules that require landlords to insulate their properties, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development recently announced new home standards to make to make rental properties warmer and drier.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford said that the standards set minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, and draught stopping in residential rental properties. The rules reflect feedback from a wide range of public health experts, stakeholders including landlords, tenants, and building experts.

“Nearly 600,000 households rent in New Zealand, and our rental stock is of poorer quality than owner-occupied homes,” said Twyford. “It’s estimated about 200,000 families live in rental homes that do not have ceiling or underfloor insulation.

“The standards are pragmatic, enduring and don’t impose an unreasonable burden on landlords and industry while being mindful that renters need to have warmer and drier homes as soon as possible.”

The new standards include the following requirements:

· All rental homes will be required to have a heater that can heat the main living area to 18C;

· Rental homes must have ceiling and underfloor insulation that either meets the 2008 Building Code insulation standard, or (for existing ceiling insulation) has a minimum thickness of 120mm;

· Rental homes will also be drier under these changes as kitchens and bathrooms will have to have extraction fans or rangehoods;

· Where rental homes have an enclosed subfloor space, property owners will need to install a ground moisture barrier to stop moisture rising into the home;

· The standards also reinforce existing law that says landlords must have adequate drainage and guttering to prevent water entering the home, and;

· Draughts that make a home harder to heat will have to be blocked.

Private landlords and boarding houses should ensure that their properties comply with the new standards within 90 days of any new tenancy by 01 July 2021. All Housing New Zealand houses and registered Community Housing Providers houses must comply with the standards by 01 July 2023, and by 01 July 2024 all rental homes in the country must be compliant.


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