Healthy homes

As we move towards autumn, many of us are starting to think about home heating. RACHAEL CONE, Director of Total Realty, discusses the changes to the Healthy Homes Standards that are affecting landlords and tenants alike.

The Healthy Homes Standards, first and foremost, will make it easier for tenants to keep their homes warm and dry. The government estimated that about 200,000 families were living in rental homes that did not have ceiling or underfloor insulation. Research has shown a link between cold, damp and mouldy homes and poor health outcomes, including increased risk for asthma and respiratory infections. From 1 July 2019, it became compulsory to have ceiling and underfloor insulation in all rental homes, where it was reasonably practicable to install.

Additionally, landlords must now sign a statement that they intend to comply with the Healthy Homes Standards in any new, varied or renewed tenancy agreement.

Landlords will have until 1 July 2021, to ensure their rental properties comply with the standards, which cover heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage. For more info on each standard visit tenancy.govt.nz or hud.govt.nz.

The public response to the standards has been mixed. Some feel it is a positive move that will be beneficial for the wellbeing of all tenants and particularly young and vulnerable children, while others argue that the extra cost involved may flow on to the tenant with some estimating rents to rise. Others believe that investors will look to off-load their rental properties rather than spend the money needed to comply with the standards. To date, we have not seen many investors exiting the market, except for a few before the 2019 insulation requirements. Interestingly, for 2020 we are actually seeing a significant increase in the number of investors purchasing property in the South Island.

At Total Realty, we are reminding our buyers who are set to become landlords to make sure they are up to date with the changes that are coming and particularly when they are buying a rental property. It’s vital to look for what has already been done and what will still need to be improved to comply with the standards.

It is also very worthwhile noting that homeowners themselves are being offered assistance with the cost of home heating, insulation and ventilation products and installation. They may be eligible to have up to $6,000 (including GST) applied to their rates, making it more affordable to look after the health and wellbeing of their family while also making a wise investment into their home. The full amount plus interest will be paid back via their rates bills over nine years. For more info visit ecan.govt.nz.

Whether you are a tenant, landlord, or living in your own home, it is crucial to keep up to date with these changes and knowledgeable of what assistance is available to you.

Keep warm as we head into our colder months and don’t forget with Total Realty’s fairer commission rate you will be able to hold onto your hard-earned money – spending it on what matters most to you and your family. 

totalrealty.co.nz