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Healthy Homes Standards - Does your property comply

When buying a property that you plan to rent out, or if you are a tenant moving in to a new property do you know if it complies with the Healthy Homes Standards and if you're not sure do you know final compliance deadlines?

The healthy homes standards seek to bridge the quality disparity between rental properties and owner-occupied homes, ensuring that the approximately 600,000 renting households in New Zealand can enjoy cozier, drier living conditions.

Regarding the standards: The Residential Tenancies (Healthy Homes Standards) Regulations 2019 came into effect on July 1, 2019, with the objective of tackling issues related to coldness, moisture, drainage problems, and drafts in rental properties. These regulations establish baseline criteria for:

  1. Heating
  2. Insulation
  3. Ventilation
  4. Moisture prevention (addressing dampness) and drainage
  5. Draft prevention.

All rental homes need to comply with the Healthy Homes Standards by 1 July 2025 and up to that date landlords have 120 days from any new tenancy to comply.

So who can help you check if the property you are looking at reaches the standards?

If you're on the Hibiscus Coast or North Shore we recommend a qualified building inspector and Healthy Homes inspector in Phil Yang from A Buyer's Choice.

With 15 years of experience in the construction industry, Phil has cultivated a keen interest in home inspection during his extensive career. This deep-seated passion has been a driving force behind his decision to transition into the home inspection sector.

Phil has earned full certification as a building inspector by successfully completing examinations administered by AHIT and InterNACHI, showcasing his commitment to professional development and expertise in the field.

What are the standards that need to be met?

Healthy Homes Heating Standard

The heating standard underwent revisions in May 2022 to account for the improved thermal performance of new homes constructed or renovated according to the 2008 building code requirements for insulation and glazing, as well as certain apartments. These changes imply that smaller heaters are generally adequate to maintain the required warmth in such types of dwellings.

To determine the appropriate heater size, landlords can utilize the heating assessment tool provided by Tenancy Services.

To meet the heating standard, landlords must furnish one or more fixed heaters capable of directly heating the primary living space in a rental property. These heaters cannot be open fires or unflued gas heaters; they must be permanently installed and not portable.

Acceptable heaters typically include heat pumps (if equipped with a thermostat), wood burners, pellet burners, or flued gas heaters. In specific cases, such as small apartments, a smaller fixed electric heater may suffice.

Healthy Homes Insulation Standard

Ceiling and underfloor insulation are obligatory in all rental homes where it is feasible to install them.

The healthy homes standards categorize New Zealand into three climate zones, each with distinct insulation requirements. You can find information about these zones on Tenancy Services.

Insulation standards are measured by the R-value, indicating how effectively insulation resists heat flow. Higher R-values represent better insulation, and this value will be clearly displayed on the product packaging.

Any newly constructed or renovated property that complies with the updated 2021 Building Code insulation requirements will also meet the healthy homes insulation standard. Landlords who installed new insulation since July 1, 2016, and have it in good condition are likely to already meet the healthy homes standard.

Tenancy Services offers an online tool to help landlords determine whether they need to upgrade or replace their insulation to meet the healthy homes standard.

Healthy Homes Ventilation Standard

Inadequate ventilation can lead to mold and dampness issues, posing health risks to tenants and property damage to landlords.

To address mold and dampness stemming from poor ventilation, rental homes must have operable windows in the living room, dining room, kitchen, and bedrooms. Additionally, kitchens and bathrooms must be equipped with extractor fans.

The ventilation standard was updated in May 2022 to permit the use of continuous mechanical ventilation systems that exhaust air outside from kitchens and bathrooms, provided the ventilation system received building consent on or after November 1, 2019.

Moisture Ingress and Drainage: Moisture can be a significant source of dampness in a residence, leading to health concerns for tenants and property damage.

Rental properties must possess effective drainage systems for managing stormwater, surface water, and groundwater. In cases where a rental property features an enclosed sub-floor space, landlords must install a ground moisture barrier if it is feasible to do so. If installing a ground moisture barrier is not possible, landlords are not required to install alternative moisture barriers.

Healthy Homes Standards regarding draughts

Addressing draughts can help reduce heating expenses for tenants and maintain comfortable living conditions in rental properties.

Landlords must ensure that their properties do not contain excessive gaps or openings in walls, ceilings, windows, skylights, floors, and doors that result in noticeable draughts. Additionally, all disused open fireplaces must be sealed off or their chimneys blocked to prevent draughts.

Compliance with the Healthy Homes Standards

Landlords who fail to meet their obligations under the healthy homes standards are in violation of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 and may be subject to exemplary damages of up to $7,200.

Most new or renewed tenancy agreements are required to include a compliance statement containing specific information about the rental property's current level of compliance with the healthy homes standards.

Private landlords who initiated or renewed tenancies between July 1, 2021, and August 27, 2022, must ensure their rental properties meet the healthy homes standards within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy. Private landlords who commence or renew tenancies on or after August 28, 2022, must ensure compliance within 120 days of any new or renewed tenancy.

Kāinga Ora and registered Community Housing Providers have until July 1, 2024, to comply, while all private rentals must comply by July 1, 2025.

Monitoring Implementation of the Healthy Homes Standards

In 2020, surveys of renters and landlords were commissioned to assist HUD and the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) in monitoring the implementation of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act (HHGA). These surveys aim to track awareness of and compliance with the healthy homes standards through annual online surveys of renters and landlords nationwide.

For more information on the Healthy Homes Standards and tools please visit the Tenancy Services website or give Phil a call on 021 0286 6368 or email him at to get started on ensuring your proposed property complies with the Healthy Homes Standards.

A Buyers Choice - Hibiscus Coast house inspector
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