What is the Healthy Homes Act?

What is the Healthy Homes Act?

Since 1986, New Zealand landlords and tenants have known their rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act. When the RTA was introduced, there were a lot more owners than there were tenants but now, this has changed. Although the RTA is undergoing its own reform (set to be finished in 2020), Government also introduced the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act in 2017. This act is important for both landlords and tenants and sets requirements for NZ homes to improve their current conditions.

What is healthy homes?

It is an act that aims to improve the conditions of rentals, focusing on things like insulation, heating, ventilation, moisture and more. The act was approved in 2017 and since then has introduced some standards which New Zealand rentals need to meet.

What are some healthy homes standards?

In February 2019, Housing Minister Phil Twyford released some of the new healthy homes standards. This includes:

  • All living rooms in rentals must have a fixed heating device that can heat the room to a minimum temperature of 18ºc.
  • Rental kitchens and bathrooms must have “the right size” extractor fans.

These are only two of the new standards released by Goff that must be met by all NZ rentals by 2021, or 2024 – depending on the property. All of these can be read here.

What does the Healthy Homes Act mean for tenants?

Healthy homes is great news for renters. It ensures that their rentals meet conditions that can make a home warmer, dryer, less prone to sickness, and less prone to mold.

What does the Healthy Homes Act mean for landlords?

For some landlords, healthy homes will be no hassle as they might already meet the new standards. For others, the act might be an annoyance as it could cost them. For example, insulation is estimated to cost landlords anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 if the entire property needs to be insulated. This can be seen as a huge cost for landlords but it is now necessary.
The new act will also mean that landlords need to remain informed and compliant. This could be expensive for landlords who do not meet requirements as financial penalties for dismissing the standards exist.
The best thing that landlords can do is be prepared. Keep an eye out for new standards and make sure that your property adheres to those that are already in place.

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