Winter sees temperatures dropping all over the country, and many of us will turn on the heatpump, light the fire, or look for alternative heat sources to heat our home. New Zealand homes have a history of being cold with poor insulation, single-glazing, and inefficient heat sources. Unfortunately cold homes create all sorts of problems, not the least being health problems associated with dampness and cold air.
Warmer, drier homes provide real advantages, besides the obvious health benefits, you will also have happy healthy tenants who are more likely to become long term renters.
In 2016 the government introduced new standards for insulating rental properties and landlords had until July 1st of this year to ensure their rental properties have floor and ceiling insulation where possible.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) estimated up to 100,000 properties did not meet the standards. Landlords now face a $4000 fine if their properties are not properly insulated.
Despite shortages and insulation providers struggling to meet demand, MBIE has said it would not be granting extensions.
Landlords are required to install ceiling and underfloor insulation wherever they can. Wall insulation is not compulsory under the new rules.
The Tenancy Tribunal has set different standards of insulation depending on where in the country the property is. Zones 1 and 2 encapsulate the majority of the North Island (including Tauranga) and require minimum “R-values” – a heat resistant flow measure – of 2.9 for ceilings and 1.3 for underfloor insulation.
Tenants who want their homes insulated or believe the current insulation isn’t up to standard are encouraged to approach us in the first instance or you can contact the Tenancy Tribunal for clarity around the new standards.
Some other basic steps you can take include providing thermal drapes, blocking drafts under doors and around windows, wrapping hot water cylinders, replacing old carpet with a quality underlay and carpet, and installing a heat pump or other energy-efficient heat source in the living area. Many landlords are also investing in heat panels for hallways and bedrooms of cold homes, these take the chill out of the air and can be run by a timer.
Please call us if you have any questions regarding the new standards and your responsibility as a landlord and/or how you can make your property a healthier home.