Preparing for Healthy Homes? So many are.
From the 1st July 2021 all rental properties belonging to private landlords must comply with all aspects of the Healthy Home Standards within 90 days of any new, varied or renewed tenancy agreements. All rental homes must comply from 1st July 2024.
To help you be prepared, below we’re sharing an overview for each of the five standards so you can confidently move forward with your property.
Under Healthy Homes, the property must have fixed heating devices, capable of achieving a minimum temperature of at least 18°C in the living room. If your property has an open-plan living area, the entire space should be considered. Some heating devices may not meet the Healthy Homes requirements, due to being inefficient or unhealthy. The Government has created an online Heating Assessment Tool for calculating the heating requirements, but we recommend asking a professional contractor. You can find more details on the heating standard here.
The Healthy Homes insulation standard builds on the current insulation requirements, and so existing insulation may need to be topped up or replaced if it is not in a reasonable condition. In Wellington, ceiling insulation needs to meet a minimum R-value of 2.9, and underfloor insulation 1.3. More details on the insulation standard are available here.
The Ventilation standard requires all rooms in the property to have at least one window, door or skylight which opens to the outside and can be fixed in the open position. In each room, the size of the openable windows, doors and skylights together must be at least 5% of the floor area of that room.
The standard also requires kitchens and bathrooms to have an extractor fan vented to the outside. Kitchen extractor fans must have a minimum diameter (including ducting) of 150mm or an exhaust capacity of at least 50 litres per second. Bathroom extractor fans must have a minimum diameter (including ducting) of 120mm or an exhaust capacity of at least 25 litres per second. You can read more details on this here.
Rental properties will be required to have efficient drainage for the removal of storm water, surface water and ground water, including an appropriate outfall. The drainage system is to include gutters, downpipes and drains for the removal of water from the roof. If the rental property has an enclosed subfloor, a ground moisture barrier is to be installed if it is reasonably practicable to do so. You can find more information on the moisture and ingress drainage standard here.
Landlords are required to make sure the premise does not have unreasonable gaps or holes in walls, ceilings, windows, skylights, floors and doors which cause noticeable draughts. As a general rule, gaps with a width greater than 3mm that allow draughts are considered unreasonable, but the location and impact the draught will have on heat loss should also be considered. The age and condition of the house can’t be used as an excuse to not to stop gaps or holes.
If the rental property has an open fireplace, it must be closed off or the chimney blocked to prevent draughts in and out of the property through the fireplace. Tenants can ask landlords in writing to make the fireplace available for use. If so, the fireplace must be in good working order and free of any gaps which could cause unnecessary draughts. Read more details on the draught stopping standard here.
There are certain situations in which a home may be exempt from complying with all or part of the Healthy Homes Standards, such as:
- If the landlord has plans and has already applied for relevant permits to demolish or substantially rebuild the property.
- If the current tenant previously owned the rental property and then immediately started their tenancy after selling to the new landlord. In this case, there would be a 12 month exemption from the start date of the tenancy agreement.
- If the landlord does not own the entire building that the rental property is part of. This will likely only affect some standards if the landlord needs to install something into or access a part of the building that they are not the sole owner of.
If you have any questions about the Healthy Homes Standards, or on how we can help make it easier get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!