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Posted on 20 10 2021

New landlord property checklist

If you’ve recently become a landlord or are thinking about buying a rental property, you need to be aware of the Healthy Homes Standards, which cover insulation, heating, ventilation, moisture ingress and drainage, and draught-stopping in rental properties.

Since July 1, any new or renewed tenancy agreement must be accompanied by a Healthy Homes Compliance Statement and, if the property doesn’t already comply with all the standards, you need to get it fully compliant within 90 days of signing the tenancy agreement.

Here’s a summary of the standards and the things to check to ensure your rental is up to scratch.

Heating

Your rental must have one or more fixed heaters that can directly heat the main living room. Examples of fixed heaters are heat pumps, wood burners and flued gas heaters.

  • Whatever heater you choose, it needs a minimum 1.5kW capacity and be big enough to heat the space, which includes areas that are open to the living room, such as a hallway or dining room. You can use this online tool to calculate the kW capacity needed for your situation.
  • If your house has a heater installed before July 2019 but doesn't meet the required heat capacity, you may be able to add another heater to ‘top up’.

Insulation

Ceiling and underfloor insulation has been compulsory in all rental homes since July 2019. Under the healthy homes standard, some existing insulation will need to be topped up or replaced. You can use this online tool to find out whether you need to upgrade the insulation in your property.

  • If you’re able to look into the ceiling and sub-floor, check that the insulation is in a reasonable condition with no signs of compaction, damp or mould, gaps, vermin or birds’ nests.
  • If the insulation was installed before 2016, is thicker than 120mm and in reasonable condition, it’s likely up to standard. If it was installed after 2016, it needs to meet the minimum R-values for your zone. For most of the North Island the minimum R-values are R 2.9 for ceiling and R 1.3 for underfloor insulation. For the South Island and the Central Plateau, the minimums are R 3.3 for ceiling and R 1.3 for underfloor.

Ventilation

Rental homes must have openable windows in the living and dining rooms, kitchen and bedrooms. Kitchens and bathrooms must have extractor fans in good working order.

  • Windows must be able to be fixed in an open position, i.e. not just be propped open.
  • Extractor fans need to be vented to the outside (not into the ceiling).
  • If the bathroom fan was installed after July 2019, it must have a minimum diameter of 150mm, or have an exhaust capacity of at least 50 litres per second. If installed after July 2019, the minimums are 120mm diameter and 25 litres per second exhaust capacity.

 Moisture ingress and drainage

Rental properties must have efficient drainage for the removal of storm water, surface water and ground water. Properties with an enclosed sub-floor space must have a ground moisture barrier.

  • Check that gutters drain water from all parts of the roof, connect to downpipes and are securely fixed and free of damage or blockages.
  • All downpipes should direct water to a soak hole, stormwater drain or other outfall, usually provided by the local council.
  • A moisture barrier is needed in enclosed sub-floor spaces to block moisture from the ground rising into the house. It usually looks like a plastic sheet covering the ground, and it needs to be undamaged and secured.

Draught stopping

Landlords must make sure the property doesn’t have unreasonable gaps or holes in walls, ceilings, windows, skylights, floors and doors which cause noticeable draughts. Unused open fireplaces must be closed off or their chimneys must be blocked to prevent draughts.

  • Can you feel a draught from a gap in a wall, ceiling, window, skylight, floor or door? As a general rule, gaps or holes wider than 3mm that let air into or out of the house will need blocking.
  • Check for loose or broken hinges or latches that might be stopping doors and windows from closing tightly.
  • Check for gaps around electrical and plumbing fittings, and any unused ventilation devices.

GreenSide has a team of experts who can advise on ensuring your property meets the Healthy Homes Standards, so get in touch with us today if you’re not sure what’s needed to get your property compliant.

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