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Posted on 14 06 2021

Exemptions to the Healthy Homes Standards

There are always exceptions to rules, even the Healthy Homes Standards. However, it is vital that you understand exemption guidelines in order to avoid unnecessary fines. Along with general exemptions, there are also exemptions to individual standards.

 

General exemptions

There are some occasions where landlords are partially exempt from the Healthy Homes Standards or have an extended deadline.

  • If the landlord has applied for the relevant resource or building consent to demolish or rebuild the rental property, they will be exempt from the standards for up to 12 months of the compliance date (please note that the building consent application must have been submitted prior to the compliance date). However, if the consent is refused, the landlord will have 90 days to comply with the healthy homes standards.
  • If the property’s tenant is the former owner and the tenancy began immediately after the new landlord acquired the property, then they are exempt for 12 months from the date the tenancy commences.
  • If the property is an apartment and the landlord doesn’t own the entire building, they will be partially exempt. This exemption will only apply if the landlord cannot:
  • Install something in an area of the building that they aren’t the sole owner of
  • Access a part of the building they aren’t the sole owner of

             These exemptions aside, landlords still must take reasonable steps towards ensuring the rental property or building complies with the standards.

 

Heating exemptions

The heating standard states that all rental properties must have a fixed heater in the main living area. There are, however, a few exceptions to this.

  • If a professional installer cannot access the area to install a heating device without carrying out significant building work, causing substantial damage to the building, or avoid putting themselves or others at risk.
  • If the property is a certified passive building.

 

Insulation exemptions

Since the 2016 insulation requirement, the new government placed new standards for insulation in rental properties. There are three exemptions from this standard.

  • It is impractical or unsafe to install insulation. This might be because of the design of the property, limited access, the risk of causing damage, or due to health and safety hazards.
  • Partial exemptions for underfloor insulation apply if the property already contains underfloor insulation which was installed when the property was built. However, the insulation must be in reasonable condition, and the landlord must have documentation to prove so.
  • If there are habitable spaces directly above or below ceilings or floors (like another floor in a single property or another apartment), then these areas don’t require insulation.

 

Ventilation exemptions

In accordance with the ventilation standard, bathrooms and kitchens now require extractor fans, and all habitable rooms must have at least one window, door, or skylight. There are two exemptions from this standard.

  • If a building was considered lawful when built or converted into a livable space, it doesn’t need to meet the external door or window requirements.
  • A property won’t require extractor fans if it is considered not reasonably practical to install one.

 

Moisture ingress and drainage exemptions

The moisture ingress and drainage standard only carries one exemption.

  • If it is not reasonably practical to install a ground moisture barrier. This means a professional installer cannot access the area without carrying out significant building work, causing substantial damage, or creating health and safety risks.

 

Draught stopping

The last Healthy Homes Standard, the draught stopping standard, has no exemptions. All gaps and holes in rental properties causing noticeable draughts must be repaired.

 

Determining whether or not a rental property is eligible for any of the exemptions listed above can be tricky – and the consequences of getting it wrong can result in hefty fines. If you are unsure if your property has any exemptions, get in touch with the team at GreenSide.

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