New standards take effect

by Andy Bryenton

Landlords have been hurrying and insulation companies are working overtime to comply with new standards for healthy homes, set to take effect in a fortnight’s time.

June 1 is the date set for sweeping changes to the government’s healthy homes standards, prompting a flurry of activity for trades associated with weatherproofing, ventilation, heating and insulation. Meanwhile, some landlords are considering the practicality of switching to professional property management as the maintenance required under the new rules puts the ongoing upkeep of a rental property out of the realm of the ‘DIY self repairer’. Ultimately, this regulatory change means that owning investment property is becoming more and more a business and less a passive income stream.

Changes coming on July 1 include the requirement for heating systems capable of achieving a minimum temperature of at least 18C in the living room only. Some heating devices are deemed inefficient, unaffordable or unhealthy and will not meet the requirements under the heating standard.

Insulation, a cornerstone of the new improvements, must meet the 2008 building code or be at least 120mm thick.

Ventilation, including kitchen and bathroom extractors, is included to expel moisture and stop mould and damp. All homes must be weathertight without draughts or leaks.

The key fact is that from July 1, private landlords must ensure that their rental properties comply with the healthy home standards within 90 days of any new tenancy.

A blanket enforcement for all rental homes in New Zealand (approximately 600,000 in total) does not come into effect for a further five years.