Landlords must insulate now to avoid hefty fines – REINZ

by Ksenia Stepanova11 Jan 2019

Landlords must insulate their properties before 1 June 2019 to avoid risking a fine of up to $4000, with the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) warning that non-compliant property managers may face further action from MBIE.

The new Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) requirements come into force less than six months from now, and ceiling and underfloor insulation will be compulsory for all rental homes across the country. REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell says MBIE will be ‘proactively checking up’ on landlords to ensure their properties are up to par, and property managers need to act now to ensure their homes meet the required standards.

“Our property manager members have been taking this issue very seriously,” Norwell told NZ Adviser. “They’re working with their landlords to try and understand the obligations. It’s down to the landlords to ensure they have that insulation, and the property managers want those landlords to do the right thing – if they don’t, there’s the potential that they can’t work with them going forward as they’d have put their organisations at risk.”

“They’re really trying to help the industry get ready for this change, and it’s one that we’ve known about since 2016.”

Norwell says that a ‘significant number’ of rental properties are still well below the new insulation standards, and the Insulation Association of New Zealand has expressed concerns around the number of properties that still remain uninsulated. Norwell says landlords will also need to start including insulation statements with all new tenancy agreements, which must set out full details of the home’s insulation covering.

MBIE has suggested an approximate cost of $3,500 for a 100sq m property, but the cost will also depend on the type of property, its size and its age.

“MBIE has really been driving this project, and has increased the amount of people and resources to help monitor this,” Norwell said. “They’re really sticking to their word here, and it will cost landlords much more if they decide not to comply.”

“It’s also about making sure we have enough insulation resources in the country to make sure that all properties can meet these requirements,” she concluded. “Our advice to any landlord is not to leave it to the last minute, as there is significant pressure on the insulation industry to be able to do it in time.”

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