The Healthy Homes Standards came into effect on July 1 last year. Six months on and we are starting to see reports in the media of tenants taking their landlords to Tribunal and winning their cases. Are you at risk? If so, how much could you potentially be fined?
The Healthy Homes Standards came into effect on July 1 2019 after it was found that, in general, New Zealand’s rental stock is maintained at a poorer standard than owner occupied homes. The main issues found were related to inadequate ventilation, heating, insulation, and draught and moisture prevention. Put simply, the Standards are in place to help ensure all New Zealanders have a safe, warm, dry place to call home.
|July 1 2019||From this date, it became mandatory for all rental homes to have adequate ceiling and underfloor insulation (with very limited exceptions, such as a property where insulation is impractical to install).|
|July 1 2020||By this date (less than 6 months away) all landlords will be required to provide a Landlord’s Statement documenting the current level of compliance with the Standards for all new, varied or renewed tenancy agreements.|
|July 1 2021||All rental homes must comply with the Standards within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy.|
|July 1 2024||All rental homes in New Zealand must be fully compliant for all five Healthy Homes Standards.|
Now the ramifications of failing to comply are becoming apparent. Just last week it was reported that a tenant and father of five from Waiuki in Aukland’s rural south was compensated $1,342.86 after it was found that his landlord had failed to provide a heat pump, ventilation system and adequate insulation in the property. As a result, the tenant used the oven to keep his children warm during winter. The case was taken to Tribunal and the tenant won the case because the landlord failed to provide the family with a safe and warm home. The tenant also asked that insulation be installed in the home to comply with the Standards. The tribunal found that the tenant was entitled to compensation for the “discomfort” he and his family endured over winter. Click here to read the full story
In another case, a landlord was ordered to pay $3,700 after refusing to replace a broken heat pump in their property, which was being rented by five people. After a dispute arose between the tenants and their landlord over the issue, the tenants went to Tribunal and claimed compensation for the loss of the Brooklyn home’s rental value after the loss of the heat pump. They made an additional claim for the added costs incurred to heat the property as a result of having no heat pump.
How do you protect yourself from incurring a fine?
While you can manage the process yourself, by far the simplest way to ensure compliance and safeguard yourself against incurring a fine of up to $4,000 is to invest in a one-off Healthy Home Evaluation Report. Created by PropertySafe, the leading health and safety group in New Zealand, a Healthy Home Evaluation provides you with a simple cost effective pathway to full compliance. Conducted by a fully qualified, insured and experienced safety inspector, the assessment identifies all non-compliance issues specific to the Healthy Homes Standards and recommends the actions needed to rectify those issues in order to become compliant. All that is required for the issue of a Certificate of Compliance is evidence that any required works have been satisfactorily carried out. The report also identifies potential general safety hazards in and around the property.