Healthy Homes Standards.

Wise Landlords, for most of you this compliance, in general, will not be an issue.  We have covered most of these issues and this is evident by your long-term tenants who are paying great rental rates.  If you do have any concerns, please feel free to get in touch.  We are only a phone call away.  (This offer is also open to investors who are not yet utilising our services.   Janeen 0275 476 906)

Point to note; there is a huge shortage of quality rental homes in our Auckland market.   For this reason alone, it is a great time to complete compliance and reap the rewards of a ‘Hot’ rental market.

The Healthy Homes Standards are now in draft form with new requirements for ventilation, heating, insulation, moisture and draught stopping all but established.

The deadline for these new standards is July 2021 for new tenancies.  If a tenancy starts after this date rental properties will have 90 days to become compliant, longer-term tenancies have until July 2024.

Let’s break down what the new standard is for each of those categories.  What detail is still to be released by the government and what we can do now to get ahead of the game.

Ventilation – what is the new standard?

Ventilation must include openable windows in the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms.  Window area must equal at least 5% of the rooms total floor area. An appropriately sized extractor fan will need to be installed in the rooms with a bath or shower or indoor cooktop.

What detail is still to be released?

What type of extractor fans and how powerful the air flow needs to be is still up in the air, so to speak. This detail will be released when the final standards are published later this year.

What can we do now?

Many rental properties will already have extractor fans but if they don’t we should quickly establish if they have a switchboard capable of powering extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom.  If the current switchboard doesn’t have the capacity, then you may need to upgrade your switchboard before installation is required at an extra cost.

Heating

When the Healthy Homes Act Standards become law, rental properties must have a fixed heating device capable of achieving a minimum temperature of at least 18° C in the living room only.  This is the recommended minimum indoor temperature that adults should be living in, according to the World Health Organisation.

What detail is still to be released? The Government will release an online tool later in the year that will help landlords and tenants determine the heating device needed for their living rooms.  The online tool will allow you to be able to input the room size, the number of windows, the insulation level and from those parameters it will tell you what sort of heater you will need for that living room.  As well as calculating a minimum kilowatt figure the tool will provide a printout of the variables and required minimum capacity of the heater.  This print out can be used to show compliance with the heating standard.  It is likely that this print out will be a required document of the tenancy agreement.

What can we tell you as an owner now?

If owners want to install a heating device before the Healthy Home Regulations become law.  They will be safe to install a fixed device such as a heat pump or a wood burner.  Both devices have been earmarked as acceptable and will meet the standard.  Investment in any other heating device should be delayed until further information is released later in the year.  For example, some electric heaters may be acceptable in smaller living rooms or apartments, but until we get more detail, we would advise against purchasing these now.

Moisture Ingress and Drainage – Landlords must ensure efficient drainage and guttering, downpipes and drains.  If a rental property has an enclosed subfloor, it must have a ground moisture barrier if it’s possible to install one.  Enclosed subfloor means that the airspace under the floor is enclosed between the ground and floor level by walls which have only subfloor vents.

What detail is still to be released?

What exactly efficient drainage and guttering, downpipes and drains entails is still yet to be determined.  There could also be several examples released where it is not ‘reasonably practicable’ to install a ground moister barrier.  Guidance will be released to provide several examples and explanations of when a property may or may not be exempt from the standard

So, what can we tell you now?

Ground moisture barriers are an effective and low-cost retrofit option for addressing what can be the largest source of moisture entering the home from outside.  Ground moisture barriers will be required regardless of existing subfloor vents as these homes are still likely to experience a benefit.  Dollar for dollar, they are one of the most effective tools a homeowner can use to prevent moisture and mould entering the house.  Generally, the barrier is a polyethene sheet that can be bought from most building materials retailers and stops all moisture from one metre underground entering the house.  It can be installed by a house owner or any building professional.

All credit goes to Tenancy Practice Service were we wisely glean our information.