You’ve heard about it on the news, read a bit about it on Tenancy Services and have probably spoken to friends, family and co-workers about it. You may have even lost a little sleep over it! Let’s face it, the recent amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) to improve the quality of rentals have hit landlords by surprise and some have even sold up and said “see you later” to their rentals. Now, that’s a little drastic.
With the right guidance, you’ll be set to navigate these confusing changes with ease. Read on to learn about What is Required to Pass a Healthy Homes Assessment in New Zealand.
Firstly, let’s talk about Healthy Homes. Homes must comply with the standards from the 1st July 2021 onwards with any new or renewed tenancy. By July 2024, all homes must comply. This means that if you currently have tenants in your rental on a periodic tenancy and they don’t leave – then your home only has to comply by 2024. This gives you a little more time to get things sorted!
You must provide one or more fixed heaters that can directly heat the main living room. The heater must be at least 1.5 kW in heating capacity and meet the minimum heating capacity needed for the main living room. A fireplace counts as a heater too and has great heating capacity but we recommend also having a heat pump to make for a more comfortable home.
Ceiling and underfloor insulation is compulsory where reasonably accessible to install. Wall insulation is not compulsory. Insulation requirements are measured by R-value which is a measure of resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation. The required R-values for the Manawatu are: Ceiling R 2.9, underfloor R 1.3. If your home is on a concrete pad, underfloor is not required. Easy, huh?
Your rental must have windows in the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms that can open to the outside and be fixed in the open position. Kitchens and bathrooms must have extractor fans. This not only makes for a comfortable living environment but also protects your investment from dampness and mould.
In any room with a cooktop, new fans or rangehoods installed after 1 July 2019 must have a minimum diameter (including ducting) of 150 mm or an exhaust capacity of at least 50 litres per second. If your extraction was installed before then, as long as it operates then you’re good!
In any room with a shower or bath, new fans installed after 1 July 2019 must have a minimum diameter (including ducting) of 120 mm or an exhaust capacity of at least 25 litres per second. Same with the kitchen extraction, if it was installed before then and operates then there’s no need to upgrade.
Rental properties must have efficient drainage for the removal of stormwater, surface water and groundwater. The drainage system must include gutters, downpipes and drains for the removal of water from the roof.
Rental properties with an enclosed sub-floor space must have a ground moisture barrier. The line is a little blurry as to what constitutes “enclosed”, so it’s recommended you speak to an expert.
A ground moisture barrier is generally a polythene sheet that can be bought from most building retailers. It can be installed by a house owner or a building professional. Ground moisture barriers must either:
Last but not least, nobody likes a draughty home! You must make sure that the property doesn’t have unreasonable gaps or holes in walls, ceilings, windows, skylights, floors and doors which cause noticeable draughts. All unused open fireplaces must also be closed off or their chimneys must be blocked to prevent draughts. A general rule of thumb is that if a two dollar coin on its side fits in the gap then it’s too large.
To have the completed work certified as compliant, it’s good to have a specialist company come through the place and assess it. When it’s up to scratch, they’ll issue it with a Certificate of Compliance which removes any liability from you for the house not being up to standard. How good is that?
And that’s it! Now you know what is required to pass a Healthy Homes assessment! Not quite a reason to get rid of your rental, right? If you can get all of these sorted then you’ll be compliant, have happy tenants and also preserve the longevity of your investment. If you’re interested in how this fits in with all of the other things that a Property Manager does, check out this article.
Now you’re set to navigate these confusing changes with ease. Don’t forget to reach out to us if you run into any trouble! We’re always available and happy to help.
Do you have an investment property or are looking to get one? Reach out for a free rental appraisal to find out how much rent it could be getting in today’s market.