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Healthy Homes Standards

Healthy Homes Standards

Learn about the upcoming standards and their positive impacts for both tenants and landlords

The healthy homes standards will make significant changes to the quality of New Zealand rental accommodation and bring with them long-term positive impacts for both tenants and landlords alike. Tenants will experience the benefits that come from living in a warmer, drier home and landlords can expect lower long-term maintenance costs by raising the quality of their property.

The standards create specific and minimum requirements for all rental properties in respect of heating, insulation, ventilation, draught stopping, moisture ingress and drainage. There is significant detail to each standard and what is required of all landlords both in respect of the rental property itself and reporting of this detail within any tenancy agreement. Learn more about each specific standard.

Heating

All private rentals must comply with all healthy homes standards, including the heating standard, within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy on or after 1 July 2021, with all private rentals complying by 1 July 2024.

All boarding houses must comply by 1 July 2021. All houses rented by Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand) and registered Community Housing Providers must comply by 1 July 2023.

What is the heating standard?
There must be one or more fixed heaters that can directly heat the main living room.

The main living room is the largest room that is used for general, everyday living – for example a lounge, family room or dining room.

Heater(s) must be fixed (not portable), and must be at least 1.5 kW in heating capacity and meet the minimum heating capacity needed for the main living room. This capacity can be calculated using the Heating Assessment Tool or the formula outlined in the regulations.

Heater(s) must not be an open fire or an unflued combustion heater, e.g. portable LPG bottle heaters. If you use a heat pump or an electric heater as part of your solution to meet the healthy homes heating standard, it must have a thermostat. You can’t use an electric heater (except a heat pump) if the required heating capacity for the main living room is over 2.4 kW, unless you’re ‘topping up’ existing qualifying heating that was installed before 1 July 2019.

In most cases, the acceptable types of heater(s) will be a larger fixed heating device like a heat pump, wood burner, pellet burner or flued gas heater. In some cases, e.g. small apartments, a smaller fixed electric heater may be enough.

For more information go to the Tenancy Services website:
https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/healthy-homes/h
/eating-standard

Insulation

All private rentals must comply with the healthy homes standards within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy after 1 July 2021, with all private rentals complying by 1 July 2024. All boarding houses must comply by 1 July 2021. All houses rented by Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand) and registered Community Housing Providers must comply by 1 July 2023.

What is the required level for insulation?
Insulation requirements are measured by R-value. R-value is a measure of resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation.

Minimum R-values vary across New Zealand. Use the map below to check what zone your property is in.

Zone 1 — ceiling R 2.9, underfloor R 1.3

Zone 2 — ceiling R 2.9, underfloor R 1.3

Zone 3 — ceiling R 3.3, underfloor R 1.3

The R-value of new insulation is on the product packaging. For existing insulation, check in the ceiling or underfloor space as the R-value from the packaging may be stapled to a beam. You can also measure the thickness yourself or consult a professional insulation installer. Existing ceiling insulation that was installed before 1 July 2016 must be at least 120mm thick.

Ceiling insulation that is less than 120mm thick is acceptable if the landlord can prove:

the insulation’s R-value met the minimum R-values (2.9 or 3.3 depending on the climate zone) when it was installed, and
the insulation’s thickness has not degraded by more than 30% (compared to when it was installed).
Insulation must be installed in accordance with New Zealand Standard 4246:2016. [PDF, 6 MB]

All existing insulation must still be in reasonable condition to meet the requirements. This means there should be no mould, dampness, damage or gaps.

For more information go to the Tenancy Services website:
https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/healthy-homes/insulation-standard/

Ventilation

All private rentals must comply within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy after 1 July 2021, with all private rentals complying by 1 July 2024.

All boarding houses must comply by 1 July 2021. All houses rented by Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand) and registered Community Housing Providers must comply by 1 July 2023.

What is the ventilation standard?
All habitable rooms in a rental property must 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.

Each window door, window or skylight must be openable and must be able to remain fixed in an open position.

All kitchens and bathrooms must have an extractor fan vented to the outside.

Kitchens – In any room with a cooktop, new fans or rangehoods installed after 1 July 2019 must have a minimum diameter (including ducting) of 150mm or an exhaust capacity of at least 50 litres per second.
Bathrooms – In any room with a shower or bath, new fans installed after 1 July 2019 must have a minimum diameter (including ducting) of 120mm or an exhaust capacity of at least 25 litres per second.
Landlords should ask installers for the details of the fan diameters, ducting and flowrate in writing, so they can show they are compliant with the healthy homes ventilation standard.

For more information go to the Tenancy Services website:
https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/healthy-homes/ventilation-standard/

Moisture and drainage

All private rentals must comply within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy after 1 July 2021, with all private rentals complying by 1 July 2024. All boarding houses must comply by 1 July 2021. All houses rented by Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand) and registered Community Housing Providers must comply by 1 July 2023.

What is the moisture ingress and drainage standard?
Rental properties must have efficient drainage for the removal of storm water, surface water and ground water, including an appropriate outfall. The drainage system must 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 must be installed if it is reasonably practicable to do so.

For more information go to the Tenancy Services website:
https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/healthy-homes/moisture-and-drainage-standard/

Draught stopping

All private rentals must comply within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy after 1 July 2021, with all private rentals complying by 1 July 2024.

All boarding houses must comply by 1 July 2021. All houses rented by Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand) and registered Community Housing Providers must comply by 1 July 2023.
What is the draught stopping standard?
Landlords must already provide rental properties in a reasonable state of repair.

Under the healthy homes standards, landlords must make sure the premises doesn’t have unreasonable gaps or holes in walls, ceilings, windows, skylights, floors and doors which cause noticeable draughts. Landlords can’t use the age and condition of the house as a reason not to stop gaps or holes.

If rental homes have 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 and the landlord can agree. If it is available for use, it must be in good working order and free of any gaps which could cause a draught that are not necessary for the safe and efficient operation of the open fireplace. It is best practice to record any agreement in writing, with both tenant and landlord keeping a copy.

For more information go to the Tenancy Services website:
https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/healthy-homes/draught/


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