• Healthy Homes Standards will drive up rents – Simon Bridges

    The new Healthy Homes Standards to make rental properties warmer and drier have been announced but National leader Simon Bridges says they will drive up rents.

    The standards set minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, and draught stopping in residential rental properties.

    Bridges says while the standards are well intentioned, it will be tenants who will ultimately pay for the improvements.

    “What I do know is if you do all this in one big bang, say, ‘Right, let’s pile all this on,’ … there’s thousands of dollars of cost – who’s going to pay that? It won’t be the landlord,” Bridges told TVNZ.

    The new standards are:

    • All rental homes will be required to have a heater that can heat the main living area to 18oC.
    • Rental homes must have ceiling and underfloor insulation that either meets the 2008 Building Code insulation standard, or (for existing ceiling insulation) has a minimum thickness of 120mm.
    • Rental homes will also be drier under these changes as kitchens and bathrooms will have to have extraction fans or rangehoods.
    • Where rental homes have an enclosed subfloor space property owners will need to install a ground moisture barrier to stop moisture rising into the home
    • The standards also reinforce existing law that says landlords must have adequate drainage and guttering to prevent water entering the home.
    • Draughts that make a home harder to heat will have to be blocked.

    Housing Minister Phil Twyford said making sure all New Zealanders had warm, dry homes was one of the most important public health changes the Government could make.

    “The standards are pragmatic, enduring and don’t impose an unreasonable burden on landlords and industry while being mindful that renters need to have warmer and drier homes as soon as possible,” Twyford said.

    The next step is for the standards to be drafted in regulations and approved by Cabinet. The regulations will become law by mid-2019.

    Compliance timeline for the new standards:

    • 1 July 2021 – From this date, private landlords must ensure that their rental properties comply with the Healthy Home Standards within 90 days of any new tenancy.
    • 1 July 2021 – All boarding houses must comply with the Healthy Home Standards.
    • 1 July 2023 – All Housing New Zealand houses and registered Community Housing Providers houses must comply with the Healthy Home Standards.
    • 1 July 2024 – All rental homes must comply with the Healthy Home Standards.