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Healthy homes standards to be gazetted

The final healthy homes standards will be released later this week on 16 May. The standards set minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, and draught stopping in rental properties and will be law from 1 July 2019.

"Making sure all New Zealanders have warm, dry homes is a key focus for the Government and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. Finalising the standards is a significant milestone for the rental market," says Jo Hughes, Deputy Chief Executive Policy, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

From 1 July 2020 landlords will need to include detailed information in their new or renewed tenancy agreements about how their property meets the standards, so tenants and landlords will be aware of the standards before compliance is required from 1 July 2021.

Additional guidance information including an online tool for calculating the required heating for a living room will also be made available on 1 July 2019 from Tenancy Services at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The new standards will make rental homes healthier for tenants:

- All rental homes will be required to have a heater that can heat the main living area to 18C.

- Rental homes must have ceiling and underfloor insulation that either meets the 2008 Building Code insulation standard, or (for existing ceiling insulation) has a minimum thickness of 120mm.

- Rental homes will also be drier under these changes as kitchens and bathrooms will have to have extraction fans or rangehoods. Where rental homes have an enclosed subfloor space, property owners will need to install a ground moisture barrier to stop moisture rising into the home.

- The standards also reinforce existing law that says landlords must have adequate drainage and guttering to prevent water entering the home. Draughts that make a home harder to heat will have to be blocked.

The 2016 insulation requirements remain in force. From 1 July 2019, ceiling and underfloor insulation will be compulsory in all rental homes where it is reasonably practicable to install.

Compliance timeline for the new standards:

- 1 July 2021 - From this date, private landlords must ensure that their rental properties comply with the healthy home standards within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy.

- 1 July 2021 - All boarding houses must comply with the healthy home standards.

- 1 July 2023 - All Housing New Zealand houses and registered Community Housing Provider’s houses must comply with the healthy home standards.

- 1 July 2024 - All rental homes must comply with the healthy home standards.

More information will be available on the standards on the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development website from Thursday 16 May.

For more information please email Healthyhomes@hud.govt.nz

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