It’s D-day this month for landlords as form July 1st a landlord who had not installed ceiling and floor insulation where reasonably practicable would be in breach of the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) and could face damages of up to $4000 at the Tenancy Tribunal. This will be welcomed new for many renters who have been calling on these changes, with the topic of un-insulated rentals and poor heating being a hot topic in recent years, and especially around election time. Poor housing conditions, especially in cities that are made of primarily older homes, has been an local issue as well with many tenants suggesting that landlords are only meeting the bare minimum.
Landlords had had three years to carry out the required work, and Tenancy Services had been providing landlords with information and reminders about the insulation deadline since the law was changed in 2016. According to Tenancy Services landlords who have not properly insulate their properties will be dealt with on a “worst case” basis, because it will be impossible to track them all down – but many tenants could take their landlords to the tribunal in some cases to bring them to light.
For those who may be looking to purchase property and build an investment portfolio, this is now a pretty important factor to consider. The tribunal has stated that any landlord who was taking on a new rental property would need to ensure that it was insulated as required by tenancy law.
In a addition to this, there could be more changes on the horizon for landlords, as former Housing Minister Phil Twyford announced a batch of new requirements that are part of the Government’s healthy homes standards. These include rules that will require every rental home in New Zealand to have a heater in the living room and an extractor fan in the kitchen and bathroom.
From mid-2021, all rental homes will be required by law to have a heater that can heat a main living area to 18C. Kitchens and bathrooms will have to have extraction fans or range hoods and, 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.
Twyford said the new rules were some of the “most important public health changes the Government could make”. This has followed years of complaints from renters who have suffered from damp/cold homes and inadequate heating sources.