Prioritising the provision of secure, cosy, and moisture-free housing for every family in New Zealand stands as a primary concern for the government. The implementation of the NZ Healthy Homes Standards aims to enhance the standard of rental properties and foster healthier living conditions for tenants nationwide.
The NZ Healthy Homes Standards set out minimum requirements landlords must meet to improve the quality of their rental properties. These standards cover five key areas, including heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture ingress, and draught stopping. All private rentals must comply with these standards by 2024.
Heating plays a vital role in maintaining a cosy and comfortable environment inside our homes. The new standards require landlords to provide an approved heating source capable of reaching a minimum temperature of 18°C in the main living area. This ensures that tenants no longer have to endure freezing conditions during chilly winters.
What is the heating standard?
There must be one or more fixed heaters that can directly heat the main living room.
The main living room is the largest room that is used for general, everyday living – for example a lounge, family room or dining room.
Heater(s) must be fixed (not portable) and must be at least 1.5 kW in heating capacity and meet the minimum heating capacity needed for the main living room. There are several options to calculate the heating capacity required for the main living room.
Landlords can utilise Tenancy Services’ heating assessment tool to determine the appropriate size of a heater required.
Heater(s) must not be an open fire or an unflued combustion heater, for example, a portable LPG bottle heater. If you use a heat pump or an electric heater as part of your solution to meet the healthy homes heating standard, it must have a thermostat. You can’t use an electric heater (except a heat pump) if the required heating capacity for the main living room is over 2.4 kW, unless you are ‘topping up’ existing qualifying heating that was installed before 1 July 2019.
In most cases, the acceptable types of heater(s) will be a larger fixed heating device like a heat pump, wood burner, pellet burner or flued gas heater. In some cases, such as small apartments, a smaller fixed electric heater may be enough.
Some properties can meet the heating standard by using geothermal heating, if the geothermal heating meets certain requirements.
Insulation plays a role in keeping homes comfortable by preventing heat loss and maintaining a temperature. According to the NZ Healthy Homes Standards rental properties are required to have insulation in the ceiling and underfloor to meet the criteria. This not only helps reduce energy consumption but also ensures that homes stay warm during winter and cool during summer.
For maintaining air quality and preventing the accumulation of moisture and pollutants proper ventilation is essential. The standards stipulate that landlords must provide windows, doors or heat recovery ventilation, in kitchens, bathrooms and living areas. This ensures a supply of air and helps prevent common respiratory issues.
Excessive moisture entering homes can cause problems, like dampness, the growth of mold and poor air quality. The Healthy Homes Standards address this issue by mandating that landlords have drainage systems in place along with guttering and downpipes. Additionally, bathrooms and kitchens must be equipped with extractor fans or rangehoods to eliminate moisture.
Draught stopping refers to the actions taken to seal gaps and cracks in homes in order to prevent air from coming in and warm air from escaping. The standards require landlords to ensure that all windows, doors and other areas prone to drafts are properly sealed. This not only enhances energy efficiency but also improves the overall comfort of the living space by eliminating chilly drafts.
The introduction of the NZ Healthy Homes Standards brings advantages for both tenants and landlords. Firstly, it ensures that tenants have access to a living space that's safe and promotes health by eliminating hazards like mould and dampness. This has an impact on their well being.
Secondly, these standards promote energy efficiency resulting in less energy consumption. By implementing proper insulation, economic heating systems and ventilation mechanisms tenants can enjoy reduced energy bills and landlords protect the value of their investment, by making their homes more affordable to maintain.
Additionally, meeting the Healthy Homes Standards can attract mindful tenants who prioritise their living conditions. Landlords who comply with these standards are likely to appeal to a pool of tenants and reduce vacancy rates.
Moreover, the standards also emphasise sustainability and environmental awareness. By improving insulation and reducing energy usage the NZ Healthy Homes Standards contribute towards decreasing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change.
The Healthy Homes Standards in New Zealand play a role in making sure that tenants have more comfortable living spaces. These standards focus on aspects like heating, insulation, ventilation addressing moisture issues and preventing drafts. Their purpose is to guarantee that rental properties meet the requirements for quality and healthiness. Implementing these standards brings advantages such as health and well being for tenants, reduced energy usage and expenses, increasing the quality of the national housing stock, returning increased value to landlords, stabilising tenant demand and a positive contribution to sustainability efforts.