By Trish Willis | Member of the Property Institute of NZ (IPAC)
Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill Parliament

Healthy homes compliance is required within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy but by July 1, 2024 all private rentals will need to be up to date regardless of tenure.

The Government has also made changes to the heating standard for new homes built to the 2008 building code, through amendments that came into effect in April 2022.

There has been a variation to ventilation, moisture and drainage rules for some situations (more information below).

Not all landlords have a bottomless pit to fund upgrades to their rental portfolio and might decide it's time to opt out of the rental sector.

If you are thinking of selling up compare real estate agents and find out more about commission and fees

MBIE intervention for healthy homes breaches

Guarantee Healthy Homes

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), which oversees Tenancy Services does not record whether rental properties are compliant with the healthy home standards but its Tenancy Compliance and Investigations team (TCIT) records identified breaches.

Since the new legislation came into force, TCIT has resolved 1304 interventions, including 219 that were complaint-driven.

Landlords that don’t meet their obligations under the standards are in breach of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. They may be liable for exemplary damages of up to $7200, however, MBIE has said it uses a range of interventions to help achieve compliance.

Landlords who fail to include a signed compliance statement in any new or renewed tenancy agreements can be fined up to $500.

Combined with added pressure on investors due to a rule change last year on claimable expenses for rental properties and capital gains tax changes due to new bright line test rules, some landlords may have sold property or lightened their property portfolio. If updating your rental(s) is not an option and you want to sell up you are not alone.

Find out how to sell a rental quickly

Changes to heating requirement for post 2008 new builds

Healthy Homes Deadlines

In response to rental sector feedback last year, the Government agreed to amend the healthy homes standards and its heating requirements to reflect the higher thermal performance of new homes and also certain apartments, or properties renovated throughout to 2008 code standard.

The proposed changes to the heating standard will generally enable smaller heating devices to be installed in new rental homes.

The Government has revised the deadline for those affected with their 90-day compliance period starting six months after changes come into effect in April 2022, providing a grace period of up to nine months.

However, MBIE believes the current heating assessment tool remains suitable for most of the rented housing stock in Aotearoa.

There is now also more flexibility for properties with innovative and energy-efficient technologies.

Changes to ventilation, moisture and drainage standards

The healthy homes ventilation standard is also being amended to enable the use of continuous mechanical ventilation which extracts to the outdoors from kitchens and bathrooms, provided the system received building consent on or after November 1, 2019.

The moisture ingress and drainage standard is also being updated to clarify that landlords are not required to install alternative moisture barriers where it is not reasonably practicable to install a polythene barrier.

Tenancy Services has extensive healthy homes information including which properties are exempted.

Health Homes Guarantee Deadlines

Print out this rental housing WOF checklist to see if your property ticks all the boxes.

Opting To Sell Your Rental Property?

If you're thinking of selling your rental property, the first step is to get a real estate appraisal.

To ensure you get an accurate market value which will give you the best chance of having an optimum outcome, you need to rely on the skills and integrity of your real estate agent. You can ensure your agent is the competent by using a vetted real estate agent.

Request a list of vetted real estate agents to compare here.

Updated May 21, 2022 by Trish Willis | Member of the Property Institute of NZ (IPAC)

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