The Healthy Homes Guarantee Act
What the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act is and what it means for landlords.
Landlords: What the Act means for you
In December 2017, the Government passed the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act. 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 changes will require landlords to guarantee any new tenancy must be either properly insulated or contain a heating source able to make the home warm and dry.
*Ministry of Housing
Houses must include good ventilation
The proposed standard also requires all bathrooms and kitchens to have mechanical extract ventilation, in addition to opening windows in habitable rooms (living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms).* Mechanical ventilation, such as extractor fans or rangehoods, is easy to use and noticeably improves the ventilation in a home, reducing the incidence of mould forming.
The issue with the heating component is that heating a home won’t make it dry. Without properly-designed and installed whole home ventilation, dampness and mould can continue to grow in a home, despite a landlord’s best efforts in heating and insulating the property.
There are 625,900 Kiwis living in rental properties in NZ – and many of them are struggling through winter. NZ’s housing stock is poor, often riddled with mould and mildew which severely affects our health, especially if we have respiratory illnesses. Some tenants are saying they can’t afford the heating systems their landlords are installing for them as well – a factor that could be reversed if the house was properly ventilated and insulated – as drier homes are easier to heat.
*Ministry of Housing
Take the onus away from your tenants – it’s an investment
If you’re a landlord, especially in lower socio-economic areas, do the right thing by addressing the three key factors needed to create a healthy home; insulation, heating and whole home ventilation – we call it the ‘healthy home triangle’. This will help bring electricity costs down so tenants will use their heating, while also keeping your investment free from damage caused by excess moisture, dampness and mould. And, most importantly, it will help keep your tenants healthy through winter.
Tenants are also likely to stay longer in a rental property that’s warm and doesn’t compromise their health, reducing the costs of high tenant turnover – not to mention the fact they’ll respect the home more. Those in a damp/cold home are more likely to suffer avoidable illness, often resulting in unplanned medical bills and time off work. Unexpected financial burdens like this increase the risk of missed rent payments.
It's ok if you need to increase rent to cover increased costs
Although it’s likely you may need to increase the rent to cover these investments, ask yourself whether your tenants would rather live in an unhealthy dwelling which is cheaper to live in or a healthy, warm and dry one that will improve their lives and decrease their bills elsewhere such as going to the doctor. Improving your property makes it a more desirable prospect, tenants pay more, a purchaser will pay more if you decide to sell, and you'll see less ongoing maintenance costs from dampness, mould and damage to expensive items such as carpet and drapes.
Hometech, and our team of Nationwide Certified Installation Consultants, can provide extract ventilation systems for bathrooms and laundry's that exceed NZ Building Standards plus a choice of rangehoods for kitchens. We also supply and install balanced whole home ventilation systems called an ERS (Energy Recovery System). This product includes a special energy replacement system where the warmth from the stale air that is pumped out of a house is taken and applied to the clean air that is being brought into the home. This helps to reduce heating bills (great for tenants), the air kept fresh and the home free from excess moisture, dampness and mould.
Our installers will be able to bring your rentals properties up to standard quickly and efficiently with little or no fuss to your tenants. Plus if you are a current NZPIF Member, please ask us about your special Hometech discount.
Ready to get your rental property up to standard?
Our installers will be able to bring your rental properties up to standard quickly and efficiently with little or no fuss to your tenants.