Healthy Homes Guarantee Act 2017
One-third of New Zealand households (nearly 600,000) rent, and rental homes tend to be older and of poorer quality than owner occupied dwellings. Renters have less autonomy to make improvements to their homes than owner occupiers, and maintaining and improving the quality of the dwelling is the responsibility of the owner. While many landlords maintain and upgrade their properties, there are some who don't, leaving tenants living in cold, damp homes. The healthy homes standards will make it easier for renters to achieve warmer, drier homes, helping to reduce mould and damp and the potential for associated health conditions. They will also provide a clear set of minimum standards all landlords will need to provide their tenants.
In December 2017, the Government passed the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act Regulations 2017. This Act amended the Residential Tenancies Act, and enables standards to be made to make rental homes warmer and drier.
The standards set minimum requirements to create warmer, drier rental homes (the healthy homes standards).
The Healthy Homes Standards
There must be fixed heating devices, capable of achieving a minimum temperature of at least 18°C in the living room only. Some heating devices are inefficient, unaffordable or unhealthy and will not meet the requirements under the heating standard.
The minimum level of ceiling and underfloor insulation must either meet the 2008 Building Code, or (for existing ceiling insulation) have a minimum thickness of 120mm.
Ventilation must include openable windows in the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms. Also an appropriately sized extractor fan(s) in rooms with a bath or shower or indoor cooktop.
Moisture ingress and drainage
Landlords must ensure efficient drainage and guttering, downpipes and drains. If a rental property has an enclosed subfloor, it must have a ground moisture barrier if it’s possible to install one.
Landlords must stop any unnecessary gaps or holes in walls, ceilings, windows, floors, and doors that cause noticeable draughts. All unused chimneys and fireplaces must be blocked.
1 July 2020
From this date, landlords must include a statement of their current level of compliance with the HHS in any new, varied or renewed tenancy agreement.
1 July 2021
From this date, private landlords must ensure that their rental properties comply with HHS within 90 days of any new tenancy.
1 July 2021
All boarding houses must comply with the HHS.
1 July 2023
All Housing New Zealand and registered Community Housing Provider houses must comply with the HHS.
1 July 2024
All rental homes must comply with the HHS.